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Some private schools are ready to welcome students back to campus

Cate and other private schools prepare for new school year
Cate School generic
Tracy Lehr / KEYT

CARPINTERIA, Calif. -- There are dozens of private schools along the coast and some of them are preparing to welcome back students in the fall.

Cate is a boarding school in the hills above Carpinteria with a 150 acre campus.

About 300 students will return around Labor Day including boarding school students and day students.

Instructors formed working groups when the pandemic began and have come up with a plan.

Most of their classes will be held outdoors.

They already have a staggered start that will allow the seniors to return before the freshman, sophomores and juniors.

Emmett Mack said he is looking forward to it. He says learning online isn't the same.

"The interaction with my classmates are, you can't trade those online."

But Mack knows his favorite sports such as water polo and baseball are likely to change the way they train and compete.

The Ram's coaches are working on ensuring safety during all kinds of fitness activities.

Cate headmaster Ben Williams said via Zoom, "Our founder used to say that in every student room and classroom students and teachers could feel the sunkist air of the Pacific, so really though he didn't intend to, he built the ideal campus to deal with a pandemic."

The weather is nice now but on cool mornings Williams said, "I think their favorite items will be a camp chair, and a fleece and a mug to keep their warm beverage by their sides in the mornings."

He also said they have made plans if some feels sick.

"We have brought in separate facilities, mobile homes actually, that will be isolation spaces in the event that any of our students need those kinds of services, " said Williams.

Other private schools have been working on plans, too.

Laguna Blanca has campuses in Hope Ranch and Montecito serves K-12 students.

Rob Hereford, the head of the school said, "We are moving forward with plans to reopen our two campuses in September. We have a committee of staff that is putting in long hours this summer to protect the health and safety of every member of our community. Like every group of educators, we are grappling with a great deal of uncertainty that is beyond our ability to control, but we remain committed to reuniting with out students and families in two months."

Some private schools have waiting lists, while others have virtual enrollment going on now.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here


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