In Catholic schools, online learning is a ‘challenge’

(PNC file photo)

Superintendent of Catholic Education, Dr. Juan Flores went on air with K57’s Patti Arroyo and says that though they do offer the online learning option, he feels that it might be a bit of a challenge.

“In some schools, they’ll be 10% of the students, some might be as high as 50% so the schools are going to have to work out a system and they are working out a system so they can provide and continue to provide instruction for the kids but I think if we look at the overall population of the students, majority of the students are going to come back on Tuesday,” Flores said.

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On their part to reassure parents that the Catholic schools are doing everything they can to ensure the health and safety of their students, Flores said they have made certain purchases that he says was worth their while.

“One of the things that we did was we modified our request to the CARES Act to focus more on in-school activities rather than distance learning. So we’re waiting for the procurement of sneeze guards in all of the classes, for all of the students in elementary schools, and for the cafeterias for the high schools and we’re waiting for hepa filters in all the classrooms,” Flores said.

Flores says they’re getting sneeze guards for elementary school students because teachers, especially those teaching Kindergarten and first grade, have expressed that they need to see students’ mouths when they’re learning languages, reading, or any type of lesson that requires oral speech.

The Catholic schools are getting their funds from the governor’s office, not the Department of Education. However, Flores says they have recently received almost $260,000 worth of instructional supplies from the CARES Act.

This includes PPEs, face masks, spray bottles, alcohol, and sanitizing solution. They have all been distributed to the schools.

As for vaccinations, Flores says he has talked with Lt. Governor Josh Tenorio, UOG’s School of Nursing and Public Health, two weeks prior on having teachers be vaccinated before school starts.

He was told this week that since teachers and staff are in Tier 2, they will be the first to get the vaccines after the 60 years and older group.

Along with public schools, Catholic schools are also ready for face-to-face instruction, with most schools opening on January 19, with the exception of Santa Barbara Catholic school which will open on February 1st for 4th to 8th graders.