Smooth sailing as St. Rocco's opens for business

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St. Rocco School in Johnston is back at full strength.

Beginning this week, all classes from kindergarten to grade eight are now in session after the 2020-21 academic year began Monday with a staggered daily return until today when all classes were in school for the full day.

In the middle of it all was Cheryl Boscia, the school nurse, who announced that “all precautions for safe and social distancing as required by the State Department of Health went smoothly,” while faculty members echoed, “the students are excited to be back in school.”

Boscia, meanwhile, was perhaps the busiest person at St. Rocco School, as she performed countless temperature readings with the assistance of some teachers each morning when students arrived at the front door of the 55-year-old Roman Catholic facility located at 931 Atwood Ave.

Then, once students were inside the school, each classroom had socially distanced seating as well as coordinated mask breaks.

Joe Lembo, a member of the St. Rocco’s School Board who helped with the welcoming back of students this week, offered: “Nurse Cheryl continues to tell us that she reviews the daily, sometimes twice daily updates from the Department of Health and Department of Education that are sent out to all schools.”

He said the updates advise and alert all schools to new protocols that may be needed as data is received daily.

Likewise, as St. Rocco School, the protocol of bathroom sanitizing takes place after each child’s use, and as Lembo and other administrators emphasized: “We are going above and beyond most public school criteria.”

Yet another safe area at St. Rocco School is the addition of an “isolation room,” which will have extra ventilation, distancing and sanitizers should a student – or teacher – show signs of probable symptoms during the school day. Boscia will then perform her duties to advance that person to a next step of testing or provide them with their steps for monitoring themselves.

So, the school year is underway at St. Rocco School with the “100 percent choice” program, which means there is in-class learning but parents have an option for distance learning in real time by way of the school’s new and advanced technology.

Early Monday morning the entire St. Rocco School family – the Rev. Angelo Carusi, Principal Loraine Moschella, Sisters Mary Antoinette, Donna and Daisy, Lembo and teachers – were readied with extra enthusiasm for the reopening of school that began with the raising of the American flag by grade eight students David Hanson III and Nick D’Aquila.

Many of the classrooms are now at their new limited capacity and some students are distance learning in almost every grade. Parents are welcomed to call the school at 401-944-2993 or visit the website st.roccoschool.org for more details. 

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