Saint Margaret Catholic School welcomed students back this week after closures due to Hurricanes Laura and Delta. Pre-k three, pre-k four and kindergarten students returned to classrooms created in the church’s Family Center, where they will remain for the rest of the school year.
Toni Chapman, development director, said parents cheered upon hearing news of the reopening.
“It was a positive response, for sure,” she said. “It’s kind of like a day care, which of course we’re a little more structured than a day care, but a lot of parents are really needing that right now so they can go back to work. So, it feels good that we can offer this to them right now.”
First- through eighth-grade students are expected to return to campus by Nov. 1 depending on the installation of temporary buildings, she said. The buildings are scheduled to be set up by that date to accommodate the rest of the students while the school’s main building is repaired.
“As the buildings come in and get set up, we’re going to get the grades into them. We’ll start with first grade and get them in as they come in,” she said. “Worst-case scenario, we’re finding other places on campus to start pulling in our students.”
In the meantime, the school has implemented two pieces of online academic enrichment to keep students “refreshed,” Chapman said.
To offset the days missed from the closures, Saint Margaret has added 11 full days to its calendar. Thanksgiving and Christmas break has been shortened and students will attend school until June 4, 2021.
Minutes have also been added to the school day.
“That’s going to put us over the total amount of minutes we need for a school year,” Chapman said.
Beyond internal efforts to help the school recover, other schools and organizations across the south have worked to aid Saint Margaret. Monetary donations, books and furniture have all been offered to help get the school back to normal.
“It’s been such a blessing,” Chapman said.
To donate, visit www.stmcs.com/waystogive and notate “Hurricane Relief.”