Students at the St. Mary campus of Burlington Catholic School shifted to virtual learning last week to help contain a COVID-19 outbreak affecting students and staff. (Photo by Ed Nadolski)

BCS shifts upper grades to virtual learning; mandates masks for two weeks

By Jason Arndt

Staff Writer

Burlington Catholic School, Inc., a system comprised of two campuses, entered the school year like most other area schools – allowing students and staff to decide whether they want to wear masks for COVID-19 mitigation.

However, since Aug. 25, when students returned to class, the system has reported an outbreak of COVID-19 cases.

Emily Berg, principal of Burlington Catholic School, confirmed in an email on Tuesday both campuses have seen confirmed COVID-19 cases.

“We have students and staff who are in quarantine and/or tested positive for COVID-19 at both campuses,” she said. “However, the majority of quarantines/cases are at the St. Mary campus.”

The St. Mary campus, 225 W. State St., serves fourth through eighth grade students in the Burlington Catholic School system.

Berg, meanwhile, said BCS continues to keep students and staff healthy and recently reinstated a mask requirement for two weeks.

“Although we began the school year with masks optional for students, we have reinstated mandatory masks for at least two weeks, continue to clean touch points in between classes, have students sanitize hands at the beginning and end of each class, and social distance our students in the classrooms, hallways and cafeteria,” Berg said.

Berg said despite its efforts, the St. Mary campus shut down a few classrooms, where multiple people became infected and exposed students and staff to try and stop the COVID-19 spread.

But the school soon learned more cases developed.

Berg said BCS on Sept. 9 moved all students from the St. Mary campus to virtual instruction for just under two weeks.

She hopes the decision helps students and staff return to school fully healthy.

“We know this is a big decision, but our main goal is the health and safety of our students and staff,” Berg said. “St. Charles campus will remain open as the case numbers and exposures are significantly lower, however, we will continue to monitor all classrooms closely.”

St. Charles, 449 Conkey St., serves 4K through third grade students.

To read the entire story see the Sept. 16 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.