RSM ready for return to the classroom

Thursday, August 27, 2020
Remsen St. Mary’s Principal Kim Phillips conducts a Zoom meeting with teachers in preparation for the upcoming school year. It will be the first year as principal at RSM for Phillips.
(Sentinel Photo by Megan Sabin)

REMSEN — Teachers at Remsen St. Mary’s School have been rethinking their classroom settings, and figuring out new ways of doing their previous routines and incorporate all the social distancing recommendations in preparation for the first day of school, according to Vicki Heeren, who serves as lead teacher in the elementary school.

Students at St. Mary’s were set to return to the classroom Monday, Aug. 24, but an increase in Plymouth County’s COVID-19 positivity rate has pushed that back until at least Thursday, Aug. 27. When RSM does start the year, they are planning to do so with a prayer at the Grotto on the west side of the church.

There will be no open house this year.

Kim Phillips steps into the position of PS-12 principal after teaching in the school for a number of years.

“Students will be required to wear masks when they enter and exit the buildings and in the hallways. Hand sanitizer will greet them at the door, and we will practice social distancing,” Phillips said.

The offices, libraries, and cafeteria counters all now have plexiglass, she said.

Heeren said teachers and staff participated in a number of webinars.

“The Diocese of Sioux City in cooperation with FACTS Ed., offered the staff 27 different classes/webinars on a variety of topics including topics such as Getting Started with Seesaw, The Evolving Learner: Setting the Stage for Successful Online Teaching and Learning, Strategies for Essential Relationship Development, Rigor and Relevance in an Online Environment, and Differentiate your Instruction for Remote Learning. Many teachers took advantage of these and other online tutorials, webinars and classes,” Heeren explained.

St. Mary’s welcomes five new teachers this year. They are:

Michon Wurth, 4 year old PK.

Kathleen Kessenich, 3rd Grade.

Nolan Heese, 5-8 Math, 5th Science, Middle School Exploratory.

Jarrod Schott, High School Math.

Paul Ahlers, Industrial Arts.

“Students will be welcomed to the office with the secretaries’ smiling faces behind their face shields and clear partitions,” said Rosie Kunkel, secretary at the grade school.

Teachers and staff are anxious to see the students again.

“I am most looking forward to getting our kids back in school. We all need it,” Phillips said. “I know it won’t be a ‘normal’ start, but we just need to get our kiddos back to learning in the classrooms.”