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Dear Catholic School Families,

Thank you to the more than 22,500 families who completed our recent survey assessing various aspects of our current school year. From your perspectives, as well as those of more than 3,800 teachers and nearly all principals and pastors, we know:
  • There is strong comfort with the implementation of safe operating practices in our churches and schools. 
  • Stress and the pace of work are significant issues for many members of our school staffs -- some teachers find it difficult to manage both in-person and remote learners.
  • The large majority of school families remain comfortable with in-person learning, likely reflecting the important and significant academic and social-emotional benefits to children from in-person learning. 
  • The majority of pastors and principals support continued in-person learning until Christmas break
  • Perspectives vary across communities based on a combination of factors unique to local situations (e.g., number of infections, staffing availability, workload issues).
The Archdiocesan COVID-19 Task Force and Office of Catholic Schools identified two primary implications for our schools in the survey results, our review of community infections experience, and operational factors in our schools. 
  1. Given the critical importance of in-person learning to student growth and development, the more than 80 percent of our schools will maintain in-person instruction until Christmas break.
  2. Some schools will transition temporarily to some form of an adjusted schedule or remote learning leading up to the Christmas break. 
Since last summer, we have stressed that several factors would influence our reopening and ongoing operations approach, including family preferences, school infections experience and school-specific operational constraints. The same holds true here for the decisions regarding which schools will maintain in-person learning until Christmas break and which would make a temporary adjustment. No single criterion was a deciding factor: rather it was the totality of inputs.

As previously shared, all Archdiocesan schools will begin the first two weeks of January fully remote with in-person learning resuming Tuesday, Jan. 19. This decision was made with an understanding that school employees and families would likely spend time with loves ones during Christmas break and possibly travel to do so, thus requiring two-week quarantines.

Finally, several local and national articles have extolled the success of Catholic schools in meeting the educational, emotional and spiritual needs of our children during the pandemic. This success has certainly come with a substantial investment of time and devotion on the part of many across the Archdiocese. To all of you how have diligently cooperated with the principals, teachers and staffs working incredibly hard to support your students, I say ‘Thank you!’ and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Yours in Christ,

Jim Rigg, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Catholic Schools
Travel Advisories
The Archdiocese and Office of Catholic Schools are committed to following state, county and city public health department guidance, which includes travel advisories. We encourage all clergy, employees, parishioners and school families to have a safe and LOCAL Thanksgiving. Travel to designated hotspot states will require quarantines per the public health department advisories. The Chicago Department of Public Health has designated certain states in which a negative COVID-19 test would suffice in lieu of a quarantine. We are following this guidance for residents of the City of Chicago. Please refer them to your local health department website for more information.
Our #SchoolHero campaign continues! If you aren’t following our social media channels, learn more about the most recently honored heroes and follow Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see we’re celebrating: Nominate your #SchoolHero.
Family Faith Formation 

As we begin a new year in the life the Church next Sunday with the start of Advent, check out Our Sunday Visitor Lifelong Catechesis website for family activity ideas that incorporate the Mass readings for the week. The site is refreshed each week to feature new questions, activities and a featured saint for the week.

Have questions? Your principal is the best first contact about operations, safety procedures and academics as they are best addressed at the school level.
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Archdiocese of Chicago, All rights reserved.

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Chicago, IL 60611

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