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Regina-area private schools prepare to welcome students amid coronavirus pandemic

Regina-area private schools prepare to welcome students
WATCH: Students going back to private schools will encounter some big differences this year.

The private schools in and around Regina have mapped out pandemic-era plans to reopen their dorms and welcome back students.

From enhanced cleaning of their campuses to setting up desks for physical distancing to mandating masks in high traffic areas, the administrators of Luther College High School and Athol Murray College of Notre Dame say they are taking those precautions and others.

“Be patient, calm, no blaming, no shaming because we need to be flexible as things change,” said Rob Palmerin, Notre Dame’s president and education director. “What is most important is the safety and health of our students and staff.

Read more: Some Saskatchewan school divisions make masks mandatory

“You always prepare for the worst and hope for the best. If we get a case, it won’t surprise us.”

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Most of the students who attend Notre Dame live on campus, where they study in what the school describes as its own bubble.

Norte Dame plans on limiting class sizes to 15 to 20 students and is confident it will be able to offer two-metre bubbles around each desk. It will also be delivering remote learning regularly.

When people are in close proximity — for example, in lineups and getting help from a teacher — the school will encourage wearing masks.

Notre Dame also plans on staggering its bell schedule and dining times along with reducing the capacity of its dining area to limit large gatherings.

Read more: Masks recommended in high-traffic areas for all Grade 4-12 students: Saskatchewan government

At Luther, class sizes will be a little bit bigger than at Notre Dame, but will also integrate remote learning.

About 100 students normally live in Luther’s dorms, while about 300 students commute. The high school is preparing for the likelihood that some could get sick and need to isolate.

“Our intent is to be able to have them still be able to access the classroom remotely, but that also means the students in the classroom also need to join in remotely,” said Mark Jerry, Luther College president.

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Both schools expect enrollment to dip below pre-pandemic levels and already know that fewer international students will be studying at their schools.

They say students who don’t attend this year will still have a spot when they’re ready to return.