Spending Spree to Start the Year

Lots of money went into making this school year happen.

COVID 19 has caused many changes to the school year, and from those changes came expensive decisions. With the iPads and plexiglass, the year is getting more and more expensive. It’s safe to say that Juan Diego has done a lot to make this school year happen despite the pandemic, and the money spent to make the school safer was worth it.

Plexiglass in the commons, used for separating students at lunch. (Kailey Mulcahy)

It was without a doubt worth the money,” Dean of Students Sam Salts said.  “We are by no means perfect here at the Skaggs Catholic Center in terms of protection but from what I know we are way ahead of other schools.  I have been in contact with other schools throughout this pandemic and continue to be. I have yet to find a school that is doing more than what our schools are doing.” As more and more schools in Utah are being shut down every day due to a high number of cases, it seems as though the precautions Juan Diego has taken are working. However, it is hard to imagine the amount of money spent this year must be. “Dr. Colosimo, Mr. Reeder, and Mrs. Ward have done a great job of getting the resources needed to protect the students, faculty, and staff here at the Skaggs Catholic Center,” Salts continued. “They used the state and federal funds available for the crisis response and as usual, made the most of our resources here at the Juan Diego Catholic Schools. They have done a great job giving us what we need to feel safe.”

The ID scanner used to scan and take information from student id cards. (Kailey Mulcahy)

The school has purchased ID scanners that scan student IDs and store information needed for contact tracing. The process seemed difficult to begin with, however Salts explains, “The scanners and PPE are working well. We have had to use it for contact tracing a few times already.” Another item that made this school year different, especially for teachers, is the iPads. The iPads were purchased near the beginning of school and used so that teachers can project a screen both to their students in the classroom and online. “I like the iPads,” High school math teacher and middle school director Jean Synowicki proposed.  “I am still trying to get used to using them but they are very helpful. The only thing that I don’t like is the screen is very small to show all the work for some math problems but they help to navigate the remote students with the in-person students.” 

We are open and hope to remain so”

— Dr. Colosimo

“Overall, we have spent 200k on COVID stuff,” Principal Galey Colosimo said, “Plexiglass is expensive. I am not sure about the total effectiveness of these expenses but if you follow the CDC guidelines, the overall advice is ‘social distancing.’ All of these expenses help with that and we hope it will keep us healthy and school open.” Although it was expensive to acquire the things necessary for this year, we see the benefits as it continues to help us stay open. “We have a few more tweaks to the system to help improve contact with our after-school programs but so far, so good,” Colosimo finished.

It seems as if all the purchases made this school year were both helpful and worth it. Seeing as Juan Diego has yet to shut down, it feels safer and cleaner due to the amount of work that went into making this year happen. While the plexiglass and constant scanning can feel like a hassle to both students and faculty, it has certainly helped keep the school running smoothly during the pandemic.