JOHNSTON, R.I. — When students struggle with distance learning, parents have to choose what’s best for their family.
That’s why despite tuition costs, Catholic schools are adding names to their wait lists every day.
Regina Hand, principal of St. Rocco School, said they’ve offered in-person learning to students every day so far this school year.
“We’ve seen enrollment go up considerably,” she said.
In order to keep students learning in person, Hand said all students who come into school must wear face masks and practice social distancing. There are also air purifiers in all of the classrooms, which are disinfected via fog machine at the end of each school day.
Hand said class sizes have been shrunk significantly as well to allow for proper social distancing. She said right now, half the grades at St. Rocco have wait lists.
Pam Lowell was able to enroll her children at St. Rocco after taking them out of public school in Warwick. She said virtual learning wasn’t working for her family.
“Everyone did the best that they could with it, but it was just very difficult to manage,” Lowell said.
She said her children are enjoying their time at St. Rocco.
While students can learn in person at St. Rocco, they’re not required to. Hand said 10% of the school’s K-8 students are distance learning.
“Giving parents a choice in their child’s education, I think that that’s really important,” Hand said.
Hand said only five classrooms have had to switch to distance learning since the school year began due to a positive COVID-19 case.
Despite this, she said no community spread has occurred and all classes were able to resume after quarantine.
While school might look a little different, the safety protocols seem to be enough for parents to want to make the switch from public to private education.
“I think they’ve tried really hard to keep those normal things for the kids and it’s been great,” Lowell said. “Very blessed to have them.”
Hand said that, while St. Rocco offers Catholic education, they are accepting students of all faiths when it comes to new enrollment.