CHICAGO — The Archdiocese of Chicago released its plan Friday for face-to-face classroom instruction in the fall.
They said schools will revamp their approach to providing daily instruction and will follow four guiding principles outlined in a note to parents.
- The safety and well-being of students and school employees is our primary concern and we will do what we must so everyone in our schools feels safe and undeterred.
- Everything possible is being done to reopen school buildings and provide a faith-filled education in a safe and timely manner.
- The progress of the COVID-19 pandemic in Illinois remains unpredictable and there is still potential that school buildings must be closed again if a significant rise in cases were to occur.
- Faithful citizenship is key – we expect our families to take personal responsibility for the common good as well as their own safety.
Last month, Cardinal Blaze Cupich announced the archdiocese’s intent to reopen for face-to-face classes in the fall. They have been working with a panel of medical experts, state and local officials, priests, principals and parents to develop the following rules.
- All students over the age of 2 and school employees will be required to wear masks while indoors. Masks may only be removed during designated activities (such as lunch and recess) and only then if students remain physically distant.
- Students will be assigned to a “cohort”, which will correspond to their homeroom class and will remain with those same classmates throughout the day. Students within a cohort will remain physically as far apart as possible to prevent the spread of illness.
- Schools will provide new pick-up and drop-off procedures, walking routes within the buildings and other measures to limit the physical interaction of students.
- Parents will be asked to take their children’s temperatures daily. Temperature checks will also occur as students enter the school building every day.
- Schools will adhere to infection protocols, requiring any student who presents symptoms of COVID-19 and/or tests positive for the virus to quarantine and seek medical attention before returning to class.
- Finally, families who are not ready for their children to return to classrooms will still have the option for online learning.
“We have worked hard to provide a reopening plan that recognizes the great benefits of in-school instruction and still expresses our commitment to the preservation of human life,” said Cardinal Cupich. “Even in the best of times, our schools help ensure children have good nutrition and a safe place to learn. It is even more important that families have access to these benefits during the pandemic.”
For more information on the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Catholic schools, visit schools.archchicago.org.