Duluth private schools offering onsite and distance learning for upcoming school year

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: August 05, 2020 07:31 AM

The new school year is right around the corner and many schools have released their back to school plans. Several of the Duluth private schools are going back to onsite teaching.


Leaders of Marshall School, Lakeview Christian Academy, and Stella Maris say they are excited to have kids back in school. They said due to lower numbers of COVID-19 cases, they decided to go back to onsite learning and emphasized the hard work they are doing to ensure the plan works for every family in addition to having new health and safety protocols.

"Our youngest kids will be on campus five days a week and our older kids in grades seven through 12 will be on campus four days a week with one asynchronous day, built in. Our plan is to build a school year based on six week chunks," said Head of School Kevin Breen.

Breen said accommodations will be made for families who can't leave their child home on the asynchronous day by offering a setting at school for kids to do homework. They will also accomodate for students who want to continue with distance learning. Temperature checks, mask requirements, and enhanced cleaning efforts will be part of the new norm for all the schools.

"We're going to begin the day with an app and every parent will get a text message and an email that will ask them to check temperature and check for symptoms for their child. When students get to school, we'll do the same at the door. Certain grades will really have a sort of school within a school atmosphere and so they won't intermingle as much," said Breen.

Additional details on Marshall's back to school plans can be found here.

Lakeview Christian Academy said they'll be offering both onsite and distance learning as well.

"The parents are thrilled that their students are able to come back to school and then there are some parents that obviously have concerns and they like the fact that they would have the option of distance learning so they can still get the Lakeview Christian Academy education," said Aaron Walls, the head of school for Lakeview Christian Academy.

Walls said it was important to meet the needs of all students for the new school year and said with classes usually being smaller, social distancing should be easy to handle.

"We're also going to have some plastic shields for the desks, especially in the upper grades where it's a little bit harder to social distance. For our younger grades we're blessed by having small class sizes and we're actually able to social distance in the classroom," said Walls.

Lunch will also look different. Instead of a buffet setting, lunches will be prepackaged to reduce exposure. They are also going to have have multiple entrances for campus so that students can come through multiple doors to avoid crowding.

Stella Maris Academy is going to assign cohorts for classes and plans on educating students on hygiene habits to keep everyone healthy while in school.

"Our daily hand hygiene and cleaning of the school will be a combination of things that kids can learn what to do and how to handle it and and things that they can do just to be healthier for themselves," said Jesse Murray, the principal of Stella Maris Academy. "Our schools are slowly being set up so all of our students have an individual workspace so that they're safe and students will be wearing masks."

Distance learning is something Murray said was beneficial for some students and will continue to offer as an option. They are also looking at using their outdoor space for teaching, weather permitting.

"Our teachers are setting up a curriculum that can be instructed inside but when they have the opportunity to go outside they obviously take time to go outside," said Murray.

Additional details on the Stella Maris Academy back to school plan can be found here.


Alejandra Palacios

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