City Catholic schools stick­ing with in-per­son learn­ing in fall

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY MADE­LINE KEN­NEY, STAFF RE­PORTER mken­ney@sun­times.com | @mad­ken­ney

As Chicago Pub­lic Schools change course for this fall, an­nounc­ing Wed­nes­day that the school year will be­gin with re­mote learn­ing, the Arch­dio­cese of Chicago Catholic Schools said it’s mov­ing for­ward with its plan to re­turn to the class­room next month.

In an email to fam­i­lies, Catholic Schools su­per­in­ten­dent Jim Rigg said the arch­dio­cese is com­mit­ted to start­ing the school year with full-time in-per­son learn­ing, say­ing it’s “in the best in­ter­ests of chil­dren and our mis­sion.”

Rigg called in-per­son learn­ing “es­sen­tial” for stu­dents to grow not only in­tel­lec­tu­ally and emo­tion­ally but also in their faith.

Under the arch­dio­cese’s cur­rent re­open­ing plan, which was de­signed with guid­ance from the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion and the Chicago De­part­ment of Pub­lic Health along with other state health of­fi­cials and in­fec­tious dis­ease ex­perts, ev­ery­one over the age of 2 in­side the school will have to wear masks. Stu­dents will un­dergo daily well­ness checks when they ar­rive at school. Those ex­ams will in­clude a tem­per­a­ture check and a series of ques­tions.

The arch­dio­cese is also adopt­ing a “co­hort” model for the up­com­ing school year. Stu­dents and staff will be grouped by their home­room class and will re­main with those same class­mates through­out the day.

“Our re­open­ing plan max­i­mizes the safety of our stu­dents and em­ploy­ees while al­low­ing the re­sump­tion of in-per­son learn­ing,” Rigg said. “CDPH has rec­og­nized that our school sys­tem is dif­fer­ent from CPS and sup­ports our spe­cific plan to re­open. If this guid­ance were to change, we would ad­just our plan ac­cord­ingly.”

For Catholic school stu­dents who are un­able to re­turn or whose par­ents are un­will­ing to send them to in-per­son classes, the arch­dio­cese is also of­fer­ing re­mote and on­line learn­ing.

CPS’ ini­tial pro­posal for this fall had stu­dents in the class­room for two days a week. But the district de­cided against that this week, cit­ing the wors­en­ing pub­lic health con­di­tions and par­ent con­cerns about in-per­son school­ing amid the pan­demic.

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