St. Joe students return to class Wednesday—all online

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Staff Reports

MADISON (Wednesday, March 18, 2020) – St. Joseph Catholic School today became one of the first private or public schools in the Jackson area to begin teaching students online while schools remain closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Students met with teachers in live video conferences or in online chat rooms throughout the day. Students also received daily assignments online. And school leaders continued to refine and polish the overall online learning system.

“I am so proud of our students and our dedicated faculty for quickly adapting to our online learning plans as our state, our nation and the world fights the coronavirus pandemic,” St. Joe Principal Dena Kinsey said.

“Our students will not miss a beat while our school remains closed during the virus outbreak. We want to ensure the health and safety of the St. Joe community while at the same time providing our students the same high-quality education they receive in the classroom.”

The Catholic Diocese of Jackson late last week closed all Catholic early learning, elementary and high schools for the week of March 16. The diocese on Tuesday extended the school closures into next week, the week of March 23.

St. Joseph administrators and faculty members quickly began meeting electronically late last week and early this week to plan a smooth transition to online learning so students would remain current in their studies and not fall behind academically.

Administrators and faculty had been working all year implementing a new online system in which teachers could record attendance, post class assignments and outline class projects for students. Online learning was an extension of the new system.

The coronavirus, which surfaced late last year in China, has spread rapidly around the world and the United States – disrupting businesses, canceling major sporting events and closing universities, high schools and elementary schools.

St. Joe senior Mary Grace Stewart said she was thankful to be able to resume her academic classes online. She said her first day Wednesday using online video conferences and online class assignments worked well.

“The teachers are doing a great job accommodating everyone,” Stewart said.

“When I was first able to talk to my math class over a video conference, it was such a relief to see we were all in this together,” she said. “It is a great example of the close-knit community of St. Joe and how we come together during hard times.”

Kinsey said she isn’t surprised by the success of today’s kickoff of online learning. She said her entire staff has been on board with the idea since learning last week that the school would be closed because of the pandemic.

“We coordinated all of this early this week through our staff’s use of technology and online video conferences,” Kinsey said. “Being able to successfully plan like that made it clear to me we could successfully teach our students online.”