Hot Springs private school trying to keep students in desks amid pandemic

Local News

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – As students are still trying to navigate learning during the pandemic, one Hot Springs private school is taking a different approach.

In a world of online learning, St. John’s Catholic School is keeping students in their desks inside the classroom.

“I didn’t want to have half of our school doing remote learning and half of our school doing in class learning and then then coming back and then trying to catch up,” St. John’s Principal Janet Edgar said. 

In fact, remote learning wasn’t even an option.

“If you look at the pros and cons of remote learning, there’s not a lot of pros to remote learning other than them being safe,” Edgar said. 

Edgar said their largest class size is 13 and because of that, they have been able to social distance without any issue.

“In the classroom they don’t have to wear their masks because their desk for six feet apart,” Edgar said. 

Students also stay with their core group called a pod. That pod sticks together whether they are solving math problems, eating lunch or running around the playground.

“We have baby equipment or for the little kids and then there’s a soccer field and basketball, so they kind of all rotate so they have different areas,” Edgar said. 

Keeping all their students in the schoolhouse means they have added some extra precautions.

“We have three different lines of people that are dropping off and we take everybody’s temperature,” Edgar said. 

With those extra measures, Edgar said they have only had to quarantine two classes the entire year.

“We had to shut the three year olds down for a week, and that that came from an adult. We had a positive case and so we had to shut down the 6th grade class and it was just five kids,” Edgar said. 

She believes it’s a small price to pay to keep kids engaged during the pandemic.

“They’re getting so much better of an education here with not dealing with remote at all. I mean, we have made it as normal of a transition as possible,” Edgar said. 

So far, only two students have tested positive for COVID-19 this year. The sixth-grade class was just quarantined but those students should have their test results by Thursday. 

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