Minnesota high school seeing success with in-person learning

Brett Hoffland
Updated: February 18, 2021 06:12 PM
Created: February 18, 2021 05:16 PM

As more students in Minnesota get ready to return to the classroom, students at one west metro high school have been there all year.

Holy Family Catholic in Victoria has been doing in-person learning since September, and staff and students said it's been a success.

"It's definitely a lot better to actually be in the building," said Olivia, a senior at Holy Family Catholic.

Olivia said when they moved to online learning at the end of last school year, the thought of missing out on so much this year was difficult.

"It got pretty lonely staying in my room day after day doing online school," Olivia said.

But the administration decided last summer to find a way to make this a reality.

"It has looked a little bit different," Mike Brennan, president of Holy Family Catholic High School, said.

Brennan said it was easy to want to try to bring back normalcy, but executing it was a different story.

"The work that it took and the work that we knew it would take to present an in-person learning experience for our kids was incredibly hard and incredibly challenging," Brennan said.

He said it has been a success. Brennan noted they've had few positive COVID-19 cases in the school, which has about 450 kids.

"Our case numbers have been at worst than than one percent of not just student but student and adult population," Brennan said. 

The principal even sends out weekly COVID-19 updates online. It highlights safety reminders and stresses the only way they can continue to in-person learning for the rest of the year is by following these steps.

"Maintain vigilance, and that is something that we communicate over and over again in these weekly communications," Brennan said.

Along with required masks, temperature checks before school, assigned seats at lunch, safety reminders and advanced air filters, the school also created two committees to help implement the plan.

"Really fortunate, I feel like Holy Family is one of those schools that has given their seniors the best senior year possible, it's definitely better than full-time online school," Olivia said.

While Holy Family is a smaller school, Brennan believes they can be a model to schools of all sizes who are set to return to the classroom.

"We are here and willing and able and ready to be a support to ensure that the gift we've been able to provide our kids can be provided to more students, wherever," Brennan said.

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