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Dear Catholic School Families,

Last week we launched the #SchoolHero program to recognize the fantastic work of our Catholic school teachers, leaders and support staff. I’m happy to share the first of what will be many individuals featured on our social media channels and website.

Congratulations to our first #SchoolHero, Tammy Kleckner, principal at Frassati Catholic Academy in Wauconda! “She has brought back my faith in a dark time in this country and in our lives,” said Kathy Konecny, a parent who nominated her. “She truly is someone special and an asset to the Catholic schools.” Another parent, Colleen Nickles, who also nominated Tammy, called her “nothing short but a capable leader” who has “eased the minds of parents and students alike with her frequent and clear communication, constant call for input, reassuring nature and professionalism while navigating this unprecedented time.”

Remember, we are still accepting nominations for #SchoolHero.
Click here to submit a nomination. We love our Catholic school educators and staff!

Also, we have updated guidance from our partners in public health clarifying when COVID-19 tests are required before symptomatic individuals (and household members in close contact) should return to work/school. See below for details.

Finally, the OCS is looking ahead to the upcoming holiday season that includes Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. We’re expecting to release further guidance to schools on this season in the coming days. And as the weather turns colder, we are also working with state agencies on guidance for such activities as recess, morning check-in procedures, and winter athletics. More information on these activities will be sent to families in the coming weeks. We will strive to strike the right balance to ensure safety and fun co-exist in our Catholic schools and ask for your ongoing support in all activities and gatherings that your family participates in while outside of school.

Yours in Christ,

Jim Rigg, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Catholic Schools
When Are COVID-19 Tests Necessary?
The local departments of public health in Illinois, Cook County and Chicago have recently updated their guidance concerning COVID-19 testing and return-to-work/school admittance. Based on this new guidance, any individual (student or employee) who experiences COVID-like symptom(s) will be sent home immediately with any siblings. All students in the home may return to school if the symptoms dissipate within 24 hours and they have not been exposed to any individual infected with COVID-19.
If symptoms do not dissipate within 24 hours, the individual should:
  • Contact their health care provider for COVID-19 testing
  • Quarantine with the entire family while awaiting the test result
The individual may return to school if both of the following criteria are met:
  • Documentation of a negative test for COVID-19
  • 24-hours with no fever (without fever-reducing medication)
If symptoms persist, the individual should obtain an alternate diagnosis from a medical provider in addition to the negative COVID-19 diagnosis (e.g., strep throat diagnosis and negative COVID-19 result). If an alternative diagnosis of a communicable illness is provided, the individual should stay home until symptoms have receded per doctor’s instruction.
As a reminder, a doctor’s note is not required for individuals who are:
  • Confirmed COVID-19 positive. For the individual to return to school he or she must have:
    • remained at home for 10 days after the positive test
    • no fever for 24 hours (without fever-reducing medication), and
    • a general reduction of other symptoms by 75 percent or more.
  • Quarantined due to COVID-19 exposure but not symptomatic. Individuals may return to school if they have been quarantined for 14 days and not developed symptoms of COVID-19 during that time.
As we diligently keep pace with the evolving guidance from health care professionals, please know that our own guidelines are in the best interest of our school communities. While it can be difficult at times to keep up with instructions that are subject to change, we appreciate everyone’s steadfast commitment to following safety practices that err on the side of caution.
WTTW's The Great Chicago Fire Special

The WTTW special, THE GREAT CHICAGO FIRE, takes a new look at the 1871 disaster that leveled the city. It explores the anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic sentiment at the time that placed blame on Catherine O’Leary for the blaze. Please click here to view a YouTube video promo about the Great Chicago Fire. 

Golden Apple Nominations are Now Open

While on the subject of school heroes, nominations of outstanding educators and school leaders from public and private schools in the state of Illinois are welcomed and may be entered for consideration at Teachers of pre-k through third-grade students and pre-k through 12th-grade school leaders are eligible in the 2021 awards cycle. 

How has your family been supported?

Has your student or family been supported by our Catholic school community? Has your family supported another Catholic school family? Hope-filled and joyful stories are important for our mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. That’s why we want to help share these types of good news about our school communities. Please send an email to us at and we’ll share your story.

Have questions? Your principal is the best first contact about operations, safety procedures and academics as they will be addressed at the school level. Next, please send your questions to
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Archdiocese of Chicago, All rights reserved.

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