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Prepared for any phase

First slide

The 2020-21 school year will be unlike any other due to COVID-19, and Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria is poised to take on the challenges it presents. Ireton developed a “Return to School” plan that details how the school will operate in any of the reopening phases in Virginia. 

Since the Commonwealth is currently in Phase 3 of its reopening, Ireton welcomed back students in person to begin the year. Half of the student body will attend class in person each day, with the other half attending virtually from home, creating a concurrent classroom. With a new block schedule, students will be in the building two consecutive days and then out two consecutive days, with the rotation continuing according to the school calendar. 

This split of the student body allows for necessary health and safety protocols to be in place on campus, including physical distancing and reduced movement in the building for students and faculty. The school has been outfitted with new signs throughout the space, reminding students, faculty and staff about proper distancing, directions for moving through hallways and stairwells, and reminders for using masks and washing hands. 

Thermal temperature scanners are at the main entrances, and hand sanitizer and wipe dispensers have been installed throughout the building. Air filters have been updated to recommended ratings throughout the school building and several new heating, ventilation and air conditioning compressors have been installed. Portable air filters have been added to classrooms without open windows and the fresh-air intake has been increased to recommended levels throughout campus. Several changes were made to move toward contactless transactions, including the launch of an online school store and the use of the SchoolPass system and app for daily health screenings, lunch card purchasing and student passes as needed during the school day.

Should Virginia move back to Phase 1 or 2 of its reopening, Ireton is well prepared to move to virtual learning. The school’s class schedule and concurrent classroom learning plan allow for a smooth transition to fully remote instruction. This scenario was outlined for parents and students at the beginning of July.

Ireton also is excited for a full year with its new spaces that opened earlier this year, which include a 40,000-square-foot building that houses the new cafeteria, Hellmuth Library, new science and engineering labs, classrooms, and space for the school’s growing Academic Support Program. In addition to the new building, students can access the new auxiliary gym, cardio-fitness room and training center.

The school is excited to have Dwayne Bryant in his first full year as Ireton’s athletic director, Kieran Mitchell as Ireton’s second school nurse and Devan Dixon filling the new instructional technology specialist position. 

“The 2020-2021 school year will be a unique challenge for our students, faculty and staff,” said Head of School Kathleen McNutt. “Despite those challenges, we embrace the year ahead with hope and faith, and great confidence in the work we have done to provide a safe and productive learning environment for the Ireton community. I am grateful to our Cardinal families as we partner together to create a healthy and successful year, focused on our mission to Advance Always with Christ at the center.” 

“This year, we welcome a number of new faculty members to our team in addition to several proctors who will be in person with our students while some of our faculty teaches remotely,” said Principal Denise Tobin. “We know this year will be different than most and we are blessed to have talented and enthusiastic new faculty members join the Cardinal family.”

Ireton has chosen a St. Francis de Sales quote as its guiding message for the school year:

"Even though everything turns and changes around us, our hearts must remain unchanging and ever looking, striving and aspiring toward God.”

The faculty welcomes Giuliana Bonnette (English), Ben Gerke (Permanent Sub and SAP case worker), Lana Gonzalez (Religion), Brian Green (English Proctor), Brigid Hanrahan (Social Studies), Michael Lewis (Science Proctor), Kimberly Morris (English), Chelsea Powell (Library Media Specialist), Jonathan Pressimone (Religion), Olivia Ray (Math), Kathryn Rice (Theater Director), Mary Anne Robbet (Social Studies), Ahmad Sasso (PT Study Hall Proctor), Anneliese M. Slaton (Options Special Ed), Jennifer Stackpole (Art Proctor), Kelly Strauch (Math), Elizabeth Subsavage (DeSales Program Lead) and Patrick Young (PE/Health) for the 2020-21 school year.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020