MASKS, TEMPERATURE CHECKS PART OF ARCHDIOCESE’S BACK-TO-SCHOOL PLAN
Along with temperature checks and masks students will stay with same group all day
All children over the age of 2 will be required to wear face masks while indoors and students will have their temperatures taken as they arrive at school, according to the Archdiocese of Chicago’s just-released plan to reopen school in the fall.
“We live in extraordinary times, and it is our intent to reopen our school buildings safely to all families this fall,” Jim Rigg, superintendent of the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools, said in a statement Friday.
“Such a reopening has required careful and diligent planning on the part of our school employees, along with consultation from medical professionals, state and local officials, educators, parents, and others. We believe that in-person instruction is the best way to benefit our students and are committed to providing that instruction in a safe manner.”
The archdiocese’s announcement comes as Chicago Public Schools is still developing guidelines for a planned fall reopening. The proposed guidelines are expected to be released in the coming weeks for input from parents, teachers and students, a district spokeswoman said this week. Also this week, the Chicago Teachers Union said in a survey of its members, about 40% of the 4,800 teachers who responded believed in-classroom instruction should not resume until a COVID-19 vaccine is widely available.
Meanwhile, Archdiocese students will be assigned to a “cohort” and will be required to stay with the same group of students all day, according to the archdiocese’s plan.
The face mask requirement also applies to school employees, according to the archdiocese. Masks may be removed during lunch and recess, but only if students are social distancing. Parents will also be asked to give their children daily temperature checks.
Parents who don’t want to send their children back to school have the option for online learning, the archdiocese said. The online learning option will be districtwide, but individual schools will be allowed to create their own programs with the archdiocese’s approval.
“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,” Cardinal Blase Cupich said in a statement. “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.”
The archdiocese serves about 70,000 students in 199 schools in Cook and Lake counties.
Cardinal Blase Cupich speaks to students in January at St. Genevieve Catholic School.