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How did St. James Episcopal go the entire year healthfully in 2020-21?

Local school went 100% in-person learning last year
St. James Episcopal School had admirable health record in 2020-21
Posted at 5:07 PM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 15:30:46-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A local school was successful at holding in-person classes the entire 2020-2021 school year without kids getting sick.

So how did they do it?

"We were the only school in Corpus that stayed 100% open, in-person learning. we did not offer virtual learning,” said Galen Hoffstadt, the headmaster for St. James Episcopal School.

There was no virtual learning at all.

The entire school year was held in person from day one.

“Can’t wait to be a Jaguar,” one student said.

St. James Episcopal School is relatively small.

It has 250 students, 325 people total when you add teachers, staff and administrators

So you can say the school had the advantage in numbers, but Hoffstadt credits not the size of the school so much as she does the parents who never sent a student to school if they showed any symptoms of being sick.

“I think our parents did a phenomenal job preparing the scholars prior to coming to school,” kindergarten teacher Sonia Hall said.

Hall says last year there was a level of apprehension but this year, it's different.

“Coming into the second year, it's a different story where the majority of us are vaccinated,” Hall said.

The school also used cohorts, which means that groups of students and staff interacted mostly only with each other.

“We have created there's an upstairs well and a downstairs well in every building so that you're not crossing paths with people coming up and down the stairs,” Hoffstadt said.

The middle school shut down immediately after Christmas break because a teacher and two students came back from the break and Christmas break and tested positive for COVID-19.

The middle school building was shut down and during that time, 10 students and five teachers got sick. But none of the illnesses spread to the other school buildings because of their prompt reaction.

And there was no spread.

Unlike last year, the headmaster this year is not requiring masks, But the school is requesting families who have not been vaccinated to mask up their kids.

In the end, Hoffstadt says parents and schools want to work towards the same goal.

"Every parent regardless of their socioeconomic status wants the same thing for their children,” she said. “They want the very best education they can get provided in a safe environment.”