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Important School Closure Information Regarding COVID-19

Date posted: March 13, 2020

March 13, 2020

Dear STA Families,

You all should have received a communication from the Office of Catholic Schools regarding the closure of all Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago beginning on Monday, March 16, 2020 due the outbreak of COVID-19. There has been no set end date for this closure. 

Our school has been anticipating the potential for an extended school closure and has developed a plan for “e-learning,” where the students can continue to participate in their academics at home during the closure. We believe that it is important for our students to continue to have as much structure and continuity as possible during this outbreak, and we hope virtual learning will help provide this during the closure. Below is an outline of what our e-learning program will look like:

  • Each weekday morning, the teachers will share assignments and lessons for the day via both Class Dojo and email. There will be daily lessons for reading, writing, math, and at least one content area (religion, social studies, or science). Students with multiple teachers (5th-8th grade) should plan on receiving assignments from each teacher each day of the week.  These materials will be shared by 8:00 AM each morning. 
  • The teachers will also post brief videos of themselves teaching the content for that day and giving directions for assignments to students on Class Dojo. These videos will teach the students the content and help give them guidance for their assignments.
  • Every day, each teacher will have at least two hours of “office hours” where they will be available to answer student questions, either via email, Class Dojo message, or video chat. 
  • Some companies, including Google and Zoom Video Conferencing, are making their programs available to schools for free during the closure. We are looking into the possibility of using these programs, and teachers will communicate if they choose to use these programs as part of their e-learning program.
  • We are going to be sending some workbooks home with students today so that they may be able to work on them during the closure. Please plan on having these books return to school when we re-open the building. Please only have the students complete the assignments for that day, and do not have them work ahead in the book.
  • Students will be required to use more technology (ex: tablets, laptops, smart phones) to complete and submit their schoolwork. Please contact your teacher if you have any issues completing assignments with technology.
  • Students will continue to receive grades for the work they do at home that will be posted on PowerSchool. We are still determining how formal assessments (ie. tests) will look during the closure.
  • In the event the closure lasts until March 23, we will not offer any e-learning days over spring break, as those were days the school was already planned to be closed.

We have already scheduled a “deep cleaning” of our building for the week of March 23. We are currently looking into the possibility of moving that cleaning to next week. When we return to school, we will continue to implement the cleaning and health and safety habits we have been using at school recently (ex: regular hand-washing, wiping down surfaces, avoiding physical contact).

Families are going to be expected to continue to make payments over this time. All families should make payments through FACTS, and not plan on coming to the building to pay during the closure. We will not have any before or after care services during the closure, and all extracurricular activities are canceled. We do not know yet if we will need to make-up any school days, and if this closure will affect when we end our school year.

We are also making adjustments to our re-registration process in lieu of this closure. We are going to move the deadline for our early re-registration discounts to Friday, May 1. Please continue to complete the steps of the re-registration process earlier than May 1 if you are able to. We are also going to bill the registration and materials fees for all families through FACTS regardless of their payment method. This will allow families to pay for next year without having to physically come to the building.

This is certainly a scary and uncertain time. The most important thing for all of us to do is stay safe and follow the health and safety guidelines to ensure that we can minimize the spread of COVID-19. We will be praying for the safety of our leaders, health care professionals, and those who are sick. If you have any further questions about this, please contact me.

 

Tim Gallo

Principal

 

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