VERONA, NJ — Our Lady of the Lake School in Verona, with around 217 students enrolled and a new principal, has adopted a hybrid model.

The students are separated into two groups, alternating between remote and in-school learning. On Wednesdays, all students will participate in at-home learning. When students are home, they will join the classroom through synchronous, livestream instruction via videoconference.

According to the new principal, Jim Carlo, the hybrid schedule is better suited for the school. Formerly principal of Transfiguration Academy in Bergenfield, Carlo had to quickly adjust to the larger setting.

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“It’s been challenging to get to know the school and teachers in such a short period of time,” Carlo explained. “We [kept] the parents’ considerations in mind and everyone seems to be comfortable with this plan.”

Parents who chose to exclusively have their children attend school remotely can opt to switch to in-person learning on Nov. 25. Parents with children in school can also decide to change to remote learning at any time, Carlo said. “I want everyone—the students, parents and staff—to feel safe and secure. If everyone is afraid to be in school, it can be a blockade for learning,” he noted. Carlo believes students are quite adaptable and that they are excited to see their friends again.

“In the spring, it was exciting for them to be at home. Now, I really think the kids want to be in school. We’re trying to retain as much normalcy as possible,” he said.

The Schools Office of the Archdiocese of Newark noted in a statement that to return to in-person learning, it took a great deal of planning.

"We recognize these past few months have been challenging and filled with anxiety and uncertainty on so many levels," the statement said. "We assure you that planning for the 2020-2021 school year
[has been taken] with a great deal of thought and prayer to ensure the health and safety of all in our school communities. We pray for the grace and wisdom needed as we travel the road ahead."


Republished with permission from The Catholic Advocate.