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Dear Catholic School Families,

As of today, almost all our Archdiocese schools are open with approximately 50,000 students now engaged in either in-person or remote learning. The credit for this wonderful work goes to the principals, educators and parents who prepared on “both sides of the desk” to ensure a safe and well-coordinated effort. The nervousness natural to the first few days of school has given way to joy as teachers, students and friends were reunited.

The reopening was the easy part. The hard work now begins as we work together to ensure that we maintain healthy practices. We want students to experience in-person learning, but we can only do that by committing to safe personal behaviors outside of school. Here's what you can do to help:
  • Follow the ‘5 Behaviors to Keep Us Safe’ while away from school and avoid activities such as large gatherings and sharing meals with others outside of your household, which can jeopardize everything we all want for the school year.
  • Do not send children to school if they are ill, exhibit any symptoms or if they have been exposed to the virus.
  • Cooperate when Archdiocesan staff members ask for contact tracing information; an unwillingness to do so could lead to greater spread to other cohorts or the entire school.
  • If you or anyone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19 or are awaiting results, please stay home and notify your principal’s office immediately. You should also notify anyone with whom you have been in close contact (see CDC's definition of exposure here) outside of school and self-quarantine for 14 days.
Our ability to maintain our collective well-being and meet our families’ preference for in-person instruction is possible if we all accept our shared responsibility. I ask that you communicate your expectations to your family and reach out to your principal if you have questions or concerns. Thank you for your partnership and trust on behalf of our treasured Catholic schools!

Yours in Christ,

Jim Rigg, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Catholic Schools
Strength of our Plan
Readiness, Flexibility and Keeping First Things First
With a current infection positivity rate of more than 5 percent across Chicagoland we anticipate and are prepared for COVID-19 cases or exposures that occur in our school communities – it’s a reality that need not deter us. A pillar of our plan is to respond swiftly with our state and local health departments-derived infection protocols to immediately isolate and reduce the spread of infection. We have already done so in a few instances.

There will be times when a cohort is quarantined, and an entire school needs to transition to remote learning for a couple of weeks. While no one wants those scenarios, we are prepared for them. When they happen, they are not failures of the plan. Our response demonstrates the plan’s strength, our commitment to keep safety our foremost priority and to be ready and flexible to continue educating our students without disruption. And when a cohort or school does go remote for any period, our school teams will execute the protocols necessary to resume in-person instruction as soon as possible.
Staying Ready and Flexible as a Family
✓ Make sure your contact information is updated in PowerSchool – this is critical for both schoolwide communications and Archdiocesan communications.

✓ Make it a habit to check your email each morning before leaving your home for school in the event an urgent message from the principal was shared.

✓ If allowed by your school, students should bring any school-issued technology home each night, including power chargers.

✓ Establish your student’s remote learning space at home or caregiver’s location.
Parents/Caregivers - Self-Care Starts with Awareness
Yesenia Maldonado, LCSW Director of Social and Emotional Learning

With taking children to school, monitoring distance learning and managing other to-dos, some days it may feel as though you do not get a minute to yourself. And even when you hear about self-care, you may dismiss it as frivolous, unnecessary or even selfish. But self-care has little to do with self-absorption and everything to do with health and wellness. In fact, self-care can be one of the best ways for parents to not only meet their own needs, but also their family responsibilities. This
self-care video from SCAN provides an explanation of self-care and its importance for parents. Taking care of your spiritual, physical, psychological, and social needs will help you feel your best so you can be the best parent you can be for your children. While there are many different self-care strategies for parents, it’s important to become aware of what works for you and which habits you want to integrate into your life.  Use this self-care assessment from NAMI to help you discover which elements of self-care you currently possess and pinpoint areas for improvement
Social Distancing vs. Physical Distancing

Words matter. They’re powerful and a simple change in word choice can have a profound effect. As you talk with your child about the distance required in our schools and public places, consider emphasizing that it is a physical distance we’re trying to maintain. In truth, we can (and should) be just as social with someone regardless of the physical distance between us. The World Health Organization’s shift in terminology is well articulated in this article, Stop Using The Term ‘Social Distancing’ -- Start Talking About ‘Physical Distancing, Social Connection"’ This subtle, but meaningful, change in our language can have a positive effect on ourselves and those around us.

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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