By ANTHONY SPAULDING
Director of Communications
Pope John XXIII Regional High School
SPARTA — The Catholic Academy of Sussex County, home to Pope John XXIII Regional High School, Pope John XXIII Middle School, and Reverend George A. Brown Memorial School, has accomplished a rare feat in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Academy’s schools have provided over 100 days of in-school instruction to its students in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12. Reverend Brown has completed 121 days of in-school instruction to students in grades PreK-4, Pope John Middle School has completed 109 days of in-person teaching to students in grades 5-7, and Pope John High School has completed 100 days of in-school instruction to students in grades 8-12 as of Friday.
“There is a great feeling in the air to reach this milestone of 100 days,” Pope John XXIII Regional High School president Monsignor Kieran McHugh said. “We are so proud of our students, parents, faculty, and staff. We cannot thank them enough for the heroic efforts that they have put in to make this happen. It’s been wonderful.”
The Academy opened its three schools’ doors for in-person instruction in late August after providing top-notch daily virtual instruction to its students from last March through June.
To make these 100-plus days of in-person instruction possible, the Academy has taken many precautions.
In the classrooms, students have mobile plexiglass desk shields that they use while learning. In addition, the schools removed all extraneous furniture from classrooms so desks could be as far apart from each other as possible. The schools have also installed webcams in every classroom so students could learn remotely.
Moreover, the schools have been preventing all gatherings of students from the time they enter the building until the time they leave. They have also maintained detailed seating charts for every room to aid in contact tracing when necessary.
When warmer days occur, classes have gone outside to learn or eat lunch while maintaining proper social distancing guidelines. At the end of day, all three buildings are sanitized and disinfected on a nightly basis by an outside company.
As a result of these safety measures, students have enjoyed coming to the Academy more than ever.
“I love being in school and learning rather than sitting at home and learning online,” Pope John senior Brooke Schmidt said. “I am so proud that I go to Pope John and am able to tell people I am in school and I am healthy.”
Each school celebrated their 100th day of school in a different way.
At Pope John High School, it celebrated the milestone by tying it in with its Ring Day liturgy for its junior class. In addition, the senior class ate lunch outside while enjoying the sunny, beautiful weather.
At Pope John Middle School, students dressed in Pope John gear and made signs marking the historic day. At Reverend Brown, students dressed up as older people, wore 100th day shirts, and made crafts to commemorate it.
Now that they have all reached this mark, all three schools are focused on one goal: being in school every day until they finish the year in June.
“We’re facing the finish line and staying the course,” McHugh said. “We look forward to having many more days of outstanding in-person instruction.”