Temperature scans, symptom checks welcome St. Viator students back to school

  • Temperature and symptom checks greeted St. Viator High School students Monday as the school held its first day of in-person classes for the school year.

      Temperature and symptom checks greeted St. Viator High School students Monday as the school held its first day of in-person classes for the school year. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Assistant Principal Mike Field holds QR codes for students to scan with their cellphones Monday, the first day of in-person classes at St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights. Scanning the code opens a link for a symptom checker that students must fill out each morning before entering the building.

      Assistant Principal Mike Field holds QR codes for students to scan with their cellphones Monday, the first day of in-person classes at St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights. Scanning the code opens a link for a symptom checker that students must fill out each morning before entering the building. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Every person entering St. Viator High School on the first day of classes Monday had their temperature checked.

      Every person entering St. Viator High School on the first day of classes Monday had their temperature checked. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Students received hand sanitizer and a temperature check on their way into Our Lady of the Wayside School in Arlington Heights for the first full day of classes Monday.

    Students received hand sanitizer and a temperature check on their way into Our Lady of the Wayside School in Arlington Heights for the first full day of classes Monday. Courtesy of Our Lady of the Wayside School

  • Desks spaced farther apart and a mask requirement are among the safety measures being taken at Our Lady of the Wayside School in Arlington Heights, which welcomed students back Monday for the first full day of in-person learning.

    Desks spaced farther apart and a mask requirement are among the safety measures being taken at Our Lady of the Wayside School in Arlington Heights, which welcomed students back Monday for the first full day of in-person learning. Courtesy of Our Lady of the Wayside School

  • Students form three lines to have their temperature checked Monday at St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights.

      Students form three lines to have their temperature checked Monday at St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 8/24/2020 7:01 PM

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.

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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.

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