"Our teachers will actually be in our classrooms teaching from their classrooms to a live audience from 8:20 to noon and then our afternoon classes will be more electives, independent study," said principal Mary Flock, who greeted families at a Chromebook pickup event -- one of the few times they'll ever need to be on campus.
"Originally, we thought maybe 30 people, 35 people. And we're at 165, so we really have just blown up our expectations of the program," she said.
The Diocese of Orange created the online Catholic academy to give families an alternative to in-person learning that's scheduled to start next month, pending state approval. After doing her research, Lisa Marie Ortiz said she enrolled her daughter for the stability.
"I just didn't want to take that chance. I feel like, if we keep it consistent, and she's already familiar with the online program, we can just see how this year goes, and then go from there" said Ortiz, from Garden Grove.
First schools in OC reopen following county's removal from state's COVID watch list
They are part of the 70% of families that are staying with the school. The other 30% are new families -- locally and even from other states.
"We had lower enrollment and we were building ourselves back up, but it seemed like the right opportunity for us to really re-imagine our school," said Flock.
Teacher Roberta Elliott says it gives them a fresh perspective, knowing future closures won't affect them.
"It actually gives us a whole lot of confidence. Knowing that we're gonna be consistent throughout the year. So even if God forbid there is an outbreak, we're still gonna be doing what we're doing. We're not gonna have to switch things up and consistency for students is really the most important thing," said Elliott.
The diocese is still in the waiver process for in-person instruction for its other schools. It's unknown what that waiver means though, now that Orange County is off of the watch list.
Orientation is at the end of the month with school starting Sept. 8 along with the other schools in the diocese. For more information, visit stpolycarpschool.org.