Temperature scans, symptom checks welcome St. Viator students back to school
Symptom checks and temperature scans joined new classes and meetups with old friends as essential elements of the first day of school Monday at St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights.
Nearly all of the school's 837 students chose in-person learning this fall as St. Viator became one of just a few Northwest suburban schools -- most of them private -- to offer that option.
Students also have the choice to attend remotely, but only a few, in addition to 56 international students, picked that option.
"It was about 100 students, but that number decreased after orientation," Assistant Principal Mike Field said.
That's when families learned of the precautions being taken by the school, including a block scheduling format that places students in fewer, but longer, classes each day.
"We feel that this format allows for the best in-classroom opportunity while minimizing movement throughout the building and student-to-student contact," St. Viator President Brian Liedlich said.
Before entering the building each day, students must complete a symptom checker through an emailed link. Their temperature then is checked at the door and movement through hallways is controlled through directional markings.
Everyone in the building must wear a mask at all times, except when eating lunch. Students are assigned a seat in all classes and in the lunchroom, where preordered box lunches are provided.
The decision to return to in-person learning was based on the recommendation of a 21-person task force of administrators, faculty, parents and alumni and was reviewed by a series of medical professionals, school officials said.
Liedlich cautioned that directives from Gov. J.B. Pritzker, various government health agencies or the Archdiocese of Chicago could force changes at any time. A hybrid learning schedule is ready to be used if necessary, he said.
Elsewhere in Arlington Heights, in-person classes also were back in session Monday at Our Lady of the Wayside School. Like at St. Viator, Wayside students were met at the doors with temperature checks and masks were required.
Wayside officials said they saw an increase in enrollment this fall, as nearby public elementary school districts chose to operate remotely to start the school year.