What back to school looks like amid coronavirus

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By: Heather McMechan
Contributing Writer

With Palm Beach County public schools going virtual only this fall, many of the Palm Beach County private schools are giving their families the options of choosing distance learning, in-person learning in the classroom, or a combination.

Heather Rouffe, whose children attend North Broward Preparatory School in Coconut Creek, will be sending her children back to the classroom.

“I am confident that North Broward Prep has thought of every COVID protocol to keep my kids safe while at school,” she said. “I am so happy they have the opportunity to go back to an academically safe environment while having social interactions, and the ability to play on sports teams and experience all that school should be.”

Camille Pelaez’s child attends St. Paul’s Lutheran School in Boca Raton and offers this assessment: “St. Paul’s has provided each student the option to learn in person or at home. They have taken so many precautions. We are going to give physical school a try, and hopefully it works out. Wearing a mask for hours is going to be challenging, I think; but who knows.”

“For us it is a risk vs reward situation,” says Anika Ginzler whose child is attending B’nai Israel in Boca Raton. “Our kids—especially Henry, almost four—weren’t thriving as much as we knew they were capable of at home and mental health is super important to us. We started noticing a resistance to learning—academics, swim lessons, et cetera, a lack of wanting to leave the house to play outside or go for drives, and not wanting to even FaceTime friends and family. This is such an impressionable time for my babies, and I wanted a sense of normalcy – as much as we can give them in these crazy times. We feel extremely comfortable with the steps the school is taking and are looking forward to a great but interesting school year ahead.”

“Ready to begin with caution and adaptability moment to moment,” says Melissa Scarfone, whose children go to St. Andrew’s School in Boca Raton.

“I couldn’t have asked for anything more than what our school has offered,” says Alexis Lannan, whose children attend St. Vincent Ferrer School in Delray Beach. “Our school has provided each student the option to learn in person or at home and to opt in or out on a quarter-by-quarter basis. They have taken many additional precautions.”

Optimistically, Lannan adds, “I hope that we will have no issues and my children will return to in-person learning right after the first quarter.”

Many families are hoping the Florida COVID-19 cases soon trend downward and enter Phase 2 so that all schools—public and private—can begin to plan how to safely bring back the children to in-person classes.