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Fargo catholic school system says it’s starting the year with in-person learning

St. John Paul II Catholic Schools is starting classes August 25
Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 6:45 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - After input by parents and staff, a private school in Fargo is planning to have students in class this year.

That decision comes as Fargo Public Schools may start the year with online learning for middle and high school students.

“Our goal is to stay in person. We think that’s how learning occurs best,” St. John Paul II Catholic Schools President Mike Hagstrom said. “Relationships are developed with immediacy and direct feedback, and support, and positive relationships right there.”

Hagstrom said JPII Schools conducted a survey involving parents, teachers, and support staff. All three overwhelmingly voted on doing in-person learning.

“We’re going to be flexible and have a variety of scenarios,” Hagstrom said.

Students and staff will be wearing masks and social distancing will be practiced. JPII has been holding in-person classes throughout the summer at Sullivan Middle School, where it was able to put into effect some of its new policies.

The catholic school system hasn’t been financially immune to impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. JPII is one of a few private schools in North Dakota that received money from the Payment Protection Program.

Hagstrom said the money helped keep staff employed and he’s grateful for the funds.

According to data from the Small Business Administration, JPII received between $1 to $2 million in forgivable PPP loans on April 10.

Hagstrom said his school is lending a hand to parents who may affected by the pandemic.

That assistance includes financial aid for tuition payment, providing free lunches throughout the summer, and postponing a new school uniform policy.

Last year, some parents told Valley News Live they wouldn’t be able to afford the new uniforms.

“Everybody has been impacted by it. But, some of our families have been hit hard with job loss, furloughs, reduced hours, etcetera, especially businesses. We have a number of business owners among our families,” Hagstrom said.

JPII is expecting more than 1,100 students to attend in this upcoming school year.

The first day of classes is scheduled for August 25, yet Hagstrom stressed that they’re remaining flexible in case things change.

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