Catholic school teacher raising concerns about Archdiocese’s in-person learning plan

Coronavirus

CHICAGO — Some Catholic school teachers say the Archdiocese’s plan for in-person learning is putting everyone at risk.

Remote learning versus in-person learning is a debate that’s going on across the nation. While the Archdiocese says its ready, teachers aren’t sure — and at least one is speaking out her concerns publicly.

While Chicago Public School students will all start the year with remote learning, 70,000 Chicago area Catholic school students are being asked to come back to class, even as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Illinois.

The Archdiocese Chief of Human Resources Justin Lombardo says the plan that is in place for in-person learning follows CDC and public health guidelines, and was signed off by a panel of doctors.

The criteria includes that everyone over the age of 2 will have to wear masks and students will undergo daily wellness checks when they arrive.

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.

If there is a positive case, the archdiocese believes it will be contained to just that classroom, which will then quarantine for 14-days.

Elaine Sage is a teacher at St. Francis Xavier School in Wilmette. She wrote an op-ed for the Tribune, outlining her issues with the Archdiocese’s reopening plan. WGN News spoke to Sage Thursday.

“How do you social distance children? How do they keep their masks on? Just that simple thing. When a child gets sick, how do I go up to that child if I’m supposed to stay six-feet away?” Sage expressed to WGN.

Sage is suggesting that all Catholic schools start the year with e-learning, and then take baby steps to get back to in-person.

Other teachers have anonymously expressed their concerns.

Lombardo is convinced the plan laid out by the archdiocese allows for in-person learning safely, and if any medical guidance changes, the Archdiocese says it’s ready to pivot to all e-learning.

Catholic school parents will also have the option to keep a child home and do online learning.

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