As students continue remote learning, La Puente private school gets facelift to be COVID compliant

LA PUENTE, Calif. (KABC) -- As its students continue distance learning, a private school in La Puente underwent a transformation and is now ready to welcome them back to campus as soon as they can.

St. Joseph School has been serving the San Gabriel Valley community for 70 years, but it needed a face lift. That's where the coronavirus pandemic turned out to be somewhat of a good thing.

While the 171 students do their school work from home, renovations were made to meet guidelines from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the L.A. Archdiocese to deal with COVID-19 and in-class instruction.

"Our school is ready. We're prepared. The desks are 6 feet apart. We're able to have small classroom sizes," said Principal Luis Hayes. "Thanks to the blessings we received ... we were able to tailor-make this renovation to fit the guidelines."

The school year started earlier this month with kids at home and now the new desks are waiting to be received.

Some of the school's teachers, like Stacy Acuña, say they're excited for when that time comes.

"We are definitely excited to have our school rebuilt. And we do want the children back and we want to make sure that everybody is taking the proper precautions so that we remain open," she said.

According to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the work done at St. Joseph will be used as a model for other schools that need renovating.

"The infrastructure is rewired and with the hotspots so we can a very good remote learning -- highly organized remote learning, very effective -- and because it's a smaller school than the public schools, once we get permission from the county, we can turn it on quite fast," said Bishop David O'Connell.

Hayes says they've done everything they can to make sure the kids are safe. They're just now waiting for the department of health and the archdiocese to give them the green light.
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