St. Gerard Catholic School responds to COVID-19 cases

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St. Gerard Catholic School just had a run-in with the COVID-19 virus and had to move to strictly online learning Oct. 19-30 This came after three new r cases. One came from a teacher, another from a teachers’ aide, and one from the office staff.

Principal Ray Rzepecki said that when the teacher tested positive, the school put her class in quarantine and had her teach online for two weeks. When the aide tested positive, another class went into quarantine. With the third case, the school moved everything online.

Rzepecki said St. Gerard had a plan in place if an outbreak were to happen.

“The plan is listed on our website. I called the health department and asked them to confirm the case,” Rzepecki said “Once the case is confirmed, we list close contacts. We follow the protocols that the health department recommends. When we quarantined the classrooms that was from the health department but when we shut down for two weeks that was my decision.”

Online learning was offered for the first quarter, but Rzepecki said the school had to make a small change to a third-party online learning system rather than teachers from St. Gerard.

“Our highest priority this year is, yes, of course, we want to educate our students and make them saints, but right next to that is making sure they’re safe, and we feel like we’re doing that right now.” Rzepecki said.

Rzepecki said some parents are expressing concerns but about 95% of parents have been supportive Tricia Ellis’s daughter is in 4th grade and has been at school since it started. Ellis said her daughter had the two-week quarantine at home but is now back in school.

Ellis said she is comfortable with the guidelines and wasn’t too concerned about the cases.

“My fourth grader can tell me if they actually do these things. She tells me that they do and that they are taking the proper precautions,” Ellis said. “I guess because they weren’t specific to her teacher, classroom or her kids, then I wasn’t concerned about it. They are doing a great job with keeping kids distanced.”

Ellis said she agreed with the move to go to online for two weeks and then open back up. She also said the school is taking precautions for the week after Thanksgiving break as well. 

“They have decided that the week after Thanksgiving that they are going to do that … online, and they can extend it longer if needed if cases do pop up,” Ellis said.