GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — Parents lined up Wednesday afternoon to pick up their kids from Holy Cross Catholic School.
It was the first day of in-person instruction for the school year at the preschool through eighth grade institution.
“The kids bounced in, they were ready to learn, lots of joy just oozing out of them, they did a fantastic job of just really rolling with the new structure,” Kari Peterson, Principal of the school, said.
Holy Cross is a part of the Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) school system, which announced in early July that students would return for in-person learning come fall.
District officials say parent surveys helped make the decision to begin the school year in-person.
“It’s a choice they’re making to come to school in our private school, our catholic schools and so having them as a partner for our decisions and as we go forward is really quite important for us,” Kim Desotell, President of the GRACE school system said.
That strategy seems to be paying off.
“Our enrollment is actually up by about 30 percent this year,” Peterson said. “We have taken full advantage, and we look at our classrooms and think, what a blessing.”
“That enrollment increase is primarily coming from the public school sector of families that really do desire that face to face learning,” Desotell added.
It’s a win for the private schools.
“Because once they’re here, we’re pretty sure they’re going to stay,” Peterson told Local 5.
For now, they’re just getting started, with social distancing regulations in place.
“The teachers are constantly patient,” Peterson said. “They’re showing them what they need to do, we’re talking about it, as I said, it’s really just an opportunity for us to continue teaching.”
School system officials say they are working with the Brown County Public Health Department and Prevea Health to ensure that students, teachers, and staff stay safe.
With Day One complete, Desotell reflected back on the beginning to the year, “It was a wonderful morning, day one has gone very very smoothly and we’re very proud to have all the children and families back.”
Parents also had the option to take a fully-virtual route until they’re comfortable sending their kids back to school.