RCS plans in-person instruction

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Rome Catholic School plans to offer five full days per week of in-person instruction for its grade K-6 students when the new academic school year begins next month following closures in the prior school year due to COVID-19.

Pre-K students of ages 3 and 4, meanwhile, initially will be on a remote learning plan as they are in conjunction with the Rome school district’s state grant-funded pre-K program; the Rome district plans to be on an all-remote basis for at least the first six weeks of the school year. The RCS arrangements, and the school’s capacity for additional K-6 students, were addressed Monday by Principal Nancy Wilson regarding the 2020-21 school reopening plan for the pre-K-to-grade-6 facility.

The 800 Cypress St. school has about 40 students in K-6, plus nearly 138 pre-K students through the Rome school district. The building’s size and the school’s enrollment “allow us...to be able to open in-person” at this point, Wilson noted; the reopening plan said “as much as possible...(RCS) will operate in the in-person model of instruction five days per week” including maintaining social distancing in classrooms amid the COVID-19 situation.

Busing of students will be by Birnie Bus Service through a Rome school district arrangement, Wilson observed.

Families of K-6 students have the option to select remote learning instead of in-person; Wilson said if they “communicate to me in writing” that they want education for “their children in a remote venue...we’ll accommodate them.” About three or four families do not want in-person instruction, she said.

RCS has seen increased interest and inquiries from potential new K-6 families since the Rome school district’s recent announcement of an all-remote opening for the school year, said Wilson. RCS has sent out application forms to some families and may be sending out more this week pending the responses, she observed. Potential new students would be screened including prior school records and to be sure that specific needs can be accommodated; the aim overall is to “make sure it’s a good fit...for the school and the child,” she explained.

“The potential is there to grow,” Wilson observed. The school under current conditions probably could accommodate up to about 65 students in K-6 overall, she said, which would include the current approximately 40 now enrolled plus possible new students.

Tuition is $4,770 per year for K-6 students, said Wilson. Payment plans are available. Among inquiries from families of potential new students, Wilson observed that for K-2 grades in particular there is “a little more interest....” Those grade levels include laying a groundwork and setting foundations for learning, she said, and parents might feel more difficulties with remote/online learning.

Overall “we’re just doing our very best...to have children come to school in a safe and healthy manner...our top priority,” Wilson remarked. She emphasized the importance for families to follow the guidelines as well.

The RCS 20-page reopening plan document is on its website at www.romecatholic.org online. The document addresses various protocols relating to COVID-19 as well as instructional details. It says the plan was generated to meet guidelines issued by the Department of Health and the state Office for Religious Independent Schools.

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