Changes made in classrooms so students could go back to school

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Students are back at school with in-person instruction at Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha.

School leaders said they started planning in April how they could get students back in classes safely, including mandatory masks and spread-out desks.

It’s a new pandemic normal at Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha.

“We’re walking on different sides of the hallway, so it’s not really a big group of people just pushing through each other. So we can keep our distance,” said Keith Williams, a sophomore football player.

Williams said he’s excited to be back, and on the second day, students are taking safety measures seriously.

“I think people are taking extra precautions just because they don’t want to catch it. Because if you catch it. Then you take it home and then give it to their whole family. So you probably don’t want to do that,” Williams said.

Senior Ashley Hernandez said she likes non-virtual school better.

“It’s going amazing. I’m so excited to be back, back in the building, back around my friends and my teachers with a load of precautions,” Hernandez said.

“The students were part of the planning process. And what we heard from them is ‘We want to be back at school.’ ‘So tell us what that will take,'” Catholic Memorial High School President Donna Bembenek said.

Engineering teacher Mary Petrie said they’re trying to limit close contact.

“The kids all have assigned seats. So that if we would have to do any type of contact tracing everything’s documented where they’re sitting,” Petrie said.

“We’re going to try to make the most out of our senior year for sure,” Hernandez said.

Students clean their desks and chairs after each class, and there are staggered release times.

It’s an effort to keep students in school.

Catholic Memorial installed cameras in each classroom for virtual learning in case a student gets sick and is forced to be at home.

Some students are learning virtually full-time.

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