Patriot Q/A with the Principal


Q: Considering the conditions surrounding the pandemic, what are your goals for this 2020-2021 school year?

Mr. Durkin: In no particular order, our goals for this year are: 1. Get all students onto campus in some capacity. 2. Have all three athletic seasons. 3. Hoping to have a prom, junior ring ceremony, ring dance, and graduation ceremony in-person. 4. Provide extracurricular activities in some way.

Q: How is JC supporting the mental health of students as we are reopening?

Mr. Durkin: Mr. Hensley and the counseling team is working hard to provide mental and emotional support for all our Patriots through these trying times.

Q: What has been the greatest challenge for the reopening?

Mr. Durkin: One of our greatest challenges has been trying to nail down the guidelines from the Health Department to ensure the safety of our students and our teachers/staff. Every time we think we understand the requirements, there are changes made. For example, we were told 6’ physical distancing is to be maintained; then we were told it is 3’; then in August, the head of the Maryland State Health Department said that they are now recommending 6’. That makes a big difference when it comes to how many students we can safely accommodate in our classrooms.

Q: What are you the most excited about for the school year?

Mr. Durkin: I am most excited about getting students safely back on campus.

Q: What are you the most concerned about through the process of reopening?

Mr. Durkin: I am most concerned about variables we can’t control. This virus is unpredictable, which makes planning very challenging. We can’t control what people do when they are not in school. If people put themselves into risky situations, it could cause an outbreak, so we must all accept our social responsibility to keep each other safe.

Q: What factors are considered in order to bring more people back into the building?

Mr. Durkin: We look at the metrics in Harford County. How many new cases per 100,000 people? What is the positivity rate? What is the infection rate? Then internally, we must make sure that we have 100% compliance with all safety protocols: wearing face masks; washing hands regularly; maintaining appropriate physical distance.

Q: What happens if there is a COVID case while the school is hybrid?

Mr. Durkin: Mrs. Webster is best suited to answer this question better than I. This is what I know. If someone displays symptoms, we put this individual in our new isolation room. If the individual does not drive, then Mrs. Webster calls home to have this person picked up. We ask this person to get a test, and if it is positive, we contact the Health Department. The Health Department will conduct contact tracing and will help us determine who else should be tested or quarantined. (Mrs. Webster verified this information with The Patriot, and we will be providing additional information about this in our next issue.)

Q: Since this year has started, what have been the most positive and the most negative things you have witnessed?

Mr. Durkin: The most positive thing I have witnessed is the interaction with students who have come to school. All of the professionals who work at John Carroll do so because we love working with students. It is just wonderful after six months to see students again. The only negative is that we can’t get students back sooner; we haven’t been able to have Friday night football games yet; I miss watching our girls play field hockey and soccer. We all long for that sense of normalcy, and we hope that we can get there at some point.

Q: Is there anything you would like to add or say to the school community?

Mr. Durkin: I hope to see all our Patriots as soon as it is possible to have them safely on campus.