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Facing a new year, with fortitude

First slide

Seton School in Manassas closed out its school year last spring and celebrated an in-person graduation June 15 at Holy Trinity Church in Gainesville. Thanks to the generosity of Father Thomas P. Vander Woude, pastor and Seton’s first alumnus priest, the seniors and their families were able to be seated safely for the ceremony. Father Noah C. Morey, chaplain at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, was celebrant and homilist for the baccalaureate Mass.

Now Seton is preparing to open for the fall semester of 2020-21 with full-time, in person instruction for all students. A committee led by Beth Carpenter, head of the science department, put in many hours over the summer to prepare opening plans for full-time, in-person learning, as well as contingency plans for other alternatives should it become necessary to switch to 50 percent attendance or virtual learning for all students.

Classrooms have been reconfigured to provide adequate spacing between desks. The largest classes will meet in the St. John Paul II Center gym and St. Faustina multipurpose room. Students and staff will have temperature checks when they arrive each day, and external doors will be designated as exit or entrance only. At lunch time, students will eat in classrooms to allow more spacing. Hand-sanitizing stations have been made available, and extra cleaning will take place throughout the day. The athletic department has devised protocols for home and away athletic events. Special arrangements are being made so that students can attend a weekly Mass.

The student government officers held their annual Mass and service day Aug. 20. The opening assembly, normally held in the John Paul II Center with all students present, will be on video and screened in various locations around the school. The officers have chosen “fortitude” for the school virtue of the year.

The Seton teachers and staff had a retreat Aug. 24 conducted by Father Stephen M. Vaccarro, parochial vicar of Church of the Nativity in Burke. They also had three evenings of online training to be prepared in case the school switches to distance learning.

Four new part-time teachers are joining the Seton staff. Anne Dealey will teach seventh grade girls Life Skills and Grammar 9. Madeleine Hurley joins the math department, Nicole Testanti will teach biology and Erica Fusco will teach French II and English 9. Already on the staff, Mary Tsukalas will now teach studio art as well as continue her classes in grammar.

The students and teachers are sterilizing their masks, sanitizing their desks, praying to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. Corona for a successful school year, and looking forward to being together again this fall.




© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020