Mary Help safely welcomes students back on first day of school

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 11:00 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - The local Catholic schools are juggling a return to classrooms on Monday amid a massive resurgence of the pandemic.

One way they’re doing it is by mandating masks, not just suggesting them.

Governor Greg Abbott’s defiant stance against masks remains in place despite the fact that Texas is seeing a 67% increase in newly reported coronavirus cases.

On Monday, Catholic schools opened their doors, and they’re turning to their faith for a safe year.

Like all the other teachers at Mary Help of Christians, Ludivina Cardenas has returned to doing what she loves best.

“We are trying our best. So, we don’t have any consequences. We’re happy and god willing, we know we’ll have a wonderful school year.”

“We are very excited because today we are welcoming our kids back on campus and we know that live instruction, in person, benefits our kids the most,” said Sister Phuong Nguyen, principle of Mary Help of Christians School. “Some are taking precaution to make sure that our students and our staff our safe.”

A mask mandate applies to all students, staff and visitors when on school property.

More than 400 students are registered this year at Mary Help, but the 2nd grade already has a waiting list because they want to make sure that all the accommodations are in place to make sure that social distancing is being respected.

The smaller grades have no more than 12 students per learning space.

“They distance at their desks,” said Cardenas. “They are not together and thank god, they know they’re supposed to wear their masks. So, we don’t have any trouble. They are concerned if someone takes it off-they tell us.”

“In the classroom, we are having the social distancing and then of course we require everyone on campus to wear masks,” said Sister Nguyen. “All of our staff have been vaccinated and then also, when the kids are inside and outside, they’re washing their hands, they’re disinfecting their desks regularly and the teachers are Lysol-ing the classroom each period of class.”

Virtual learning will only be allowed for medical purposes. So, for now this is the new normal.

“I see everybody happy,” said Cardenas. “They want to socialize. They want to be back with their friends. So, I think this is going to be a wonderful year.”

“We’re excited to have the kids back,” said said Sister Nguyen. “Our teachers are ready. We missed the kids. The school is so empty without our kids. Yes, I’m very optimistic and we’re doing every guidelines that’s being put out by CDC and the diocese and we follow all the guidelines, yes.”

Public schools in Laredo open up next and as of Monday are already up and running in San Antonio.

Some elementary school campuses in San Antonio say they will test the entire faculty on a weekly basis and students who have their parents permission.

The first day was a half day for the little ones at the school, but starting on Tuesday they will have a full day of in-class instruction.

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