Archdiocese provides plan to reopen Catholic schools

St. Michael School in Orland Park. (Supplied photo)

 

By Joe Boyle

The Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office of Catholic Schools released its plan last Friday to open school buildings next month as they cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We live in extraordinary times and it is our intent to reopen our school buildings safely to all families in the fall,” said Dr. Jim Rigg, superintendent of the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools. “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.”

Children over the age of 2 will be required to wear face masks while indoors. Students will have their temperatures taken as they arrive at school, according to the archdiocese. Masks may only be removed during designated activities (such as lunch and recess) and only if students remain physically distant, according to the archdiocese.

Last month, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich announced his intent to reopen school buildings for face-to-face classes this fall. Since that announcement, the Office of Catholic Schools has been working with several groups, including the Archdiocesan COVID-19 Task Force, a panel of medical experts, state and local officials, priests, principals and school parents.

Along with the wearing of face coverings, students will be assigned to a “cohort,” which will correspond to their homeroom class and they 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 the 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 temperature daily. Temperature checks will also occur as students enter the school building every day, according to the archdiocese.

The 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.

Local elementary schools that are scheduled to open their doors next month include St. Alexander School in Palos Heights, St. Patricia School in Hickory Hills, St. Albert the Great School in Burbank, St. Michael School in Orland Park, and Cardinal Joseph Bernardin Catholic School in Orland Hills.

The list of openings in August also includes Marist, St. Laurence, Mother McAuley and Providence high schools.

The archdiocese also pointed out that if families are not ready for their children to return to classrooms, they will still have the option for online learning.

School officials are adapting to the changes that include separating desks at least six feet from other students.

Cupich first made the announcement during a video message to parents and parishioners on June 8.

“We have every intention of having our students return to their classrooms when the school year begins in the fall,” Cupich said. “Have no doubt that we will employ measures that keep the safety of your children the priority.”

In the written statement that was released Friday, the archdiocese stated that “everything possible is being done to reopen school buildings and provide a faith-filled education in a safe and timely manner.”

The archdiocese serves about 70,000 students in 199 schools in Cook and Lake counties. It is the third largest archdiocese in the U.S.

While plans have been arranged to reopen schools, the COVID-19 pandemic in Illinois remains unpredictable, according to archdiocesan officials. The archdiocese added that school buildings could close again if “a significant rise in cases were to occur.”

But Cupich believes the plans that have been set forth is the best opportunity for students.

“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,” Cupich said. “”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.

Local News

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

The garden is green and growing

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 At the risk of sounding like I’m bragging, I just had to share…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Vols turn traffic circles into treasures

By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place •  (773) 504-9327 Greetings, neighbors! There were a lot of terrific activities going on in West Lawn this…



TROPHY – St. Laurence players gather around the third-place trophy Thursday after a 10-6 victory over Washington. It’s the fourth trophy the baseball team brought home in program history. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Quick Turnaround: St. Laurence rebounds after semifinal loss to take third in Class 3A

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent Normally, the IHSA state baseball format lasts two days. The semifinals are usually held on Friday, with the championship and third-place games on Saturday. Because of…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Sleepover leads to Gage Park adventures

By Karen Sala Your correspondent in Gage Park A few more days and we will be into the month of July already. Thank goodness I don’t live in Las Vegas…

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush.

Rush hails move to protect black farmers

Wants Ag Dept. transparency  From staff reports Legislation designed to “lift the veil of secrecy regarding the race and gender of farm subsidy recipients and help ensure an end to…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Good to see in-person graduations

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon We bid farewell to June, which is unbelievable the way it flew. There are only six more months until…

Residents at Grace Point Place, a live-in memory care facility located at 5701 W. 101st St. in Oak Lawn decorated kites to be flown by Southwest Chicago Christian School students on May 26. (Photos by Kelly White)

Kids, Grace Point Place residents fly kites

By Kelly White After months of sheltering at home, elementary students and residents at an Oak Lawn memory care community were able to spread their wings recently. Residents residing within…

With Dr. José Torres behind her, Mayor Lori Lightfoot calls her new interim CEO pick a dedicated educator committed to equity.
--Greater Southwest News-Herald photo by Mary Hadac

Mayor unveils interim CPS chief

‘Thrilled beyond measure’ with Torres  By Tim Hadac Weeks after the top three Chicago Public Schools leaders announced, separately, they are leaving CPS, Mayor Lori Lightfoot staged a press conference…

CRRNH_UBAMGarden_062321

UBAM helps new community garden

Breaking ground near 63rd and Austin By Dermot Connolly The United Business Association of Midway has partnered with a grassroots group of residents planning to turn a vacant lot on…

Gigi and Lucy show a few of the fidget toys. --Supplied photo

Small toys, big heart

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] Hi everyone. I hope you are doing well and enjoying the summer so far. What have…

Neighbors

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

The garden is green and growing

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 At the risk of sounding like I’m bragging, I just had to share…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Vols turn traffic circles into treasures

By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place •  (773) 504-9327 Greetings, neighbors! There were a lot of terrific activities going on in West Lawn this…



TROPHY – St. Laurence players gather around the third-place trophy Thursday after a 10-6 victory over Washington. It’s the fourth trophy the baseball team brought home in program history. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Quick Turnaround: St. Laurence rebounds after semifinal loss to take third in Class 3A

By Jeff Vorva Correspondent Normally, the IHSA state baseball format lasts two days. The semifinals are usually held on Friday, with the championship and third-place games on Saturday. Because of…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Sleepover leads to Gage Park adventures

By Karen Sala Your correspondent in Gage Park A few more days and we will be into the month of July already. Thank goodness I don’t live in Las Vegas…

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush.

Rush hails move to protect black farmers

Wants Ag Dept. transparency  From staff reports Legislation designed to “lift the veil of secrecy regarding the race and gender of farm subsidy recipients and help ensure an end to…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Good to see in-person graduations

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon We bid farewell to June, which is unbelievable the way it flew. There are only six more months until…

Residents at Grace Point Place, a live-in memory care facility located at 5701 W. 101st St. in Oak Lawn decorated kites to be flown by Southwest Chicago Christian School students on May 26. (Photos by Kelly White)

Kids, Grace Point Place residents fly kites

By Kelly White After months of sheltering at home, elementary students and residents at an Oak Lawn memory care community were able to spread their wings recently. Residents residing within…

With Dr. José Torres behind her, Mayor Lori Lightfoot calls her new interim CEO pick a dedicated educator committed to equity.
--Greater Southwest News-Herald photo by Mary Hadac

Mayor unveils interim CPS chief

‘Thrilled beyond measure’ with Torres  By Tim Hadac Weeks after the top three Chicago Public Schools leaders announced, separately, they are leaving CPS, Mayor Lori Lightfoot staged a press conference…

CRRNH_UBAMGarden_062321

UBAM helps new community garden

Breaking ground near 63rd and Austin By Dermot Connolly The United Business Association of Midway has partnered with a grassroots group of residents planning to turn a vacant lot on…

Gigi and Lucy show a few of the fidget toys. --Supplied photo

Small toys, big heart

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] Hi everyone. I hope you are doing well and enjoying the summer so far. What have…