Therefore, the Archdiocese of Chicago in partnership with Catholic Charities is launching an ambitious effort to support individuals and communities impacted by COVID-19 to meet basic, financial, and spiritual needs. The reality is those families work hard and sacrifice to send their sons to our school.”. “That’s important to us,” Curley said. Fears of Covid-19 have forced many of the nation’s largest public-school systems to start the academic year remotely. “When the pandemic first began in March, we opened up emergency financial aid that families could apply for,” he said. While some students did not return because of family moves or other reasons, none left because they were short of money after a parent lost a job or had their hours cut, Curley said. “I felt like I was put between a rock and a hard place,” said Margaret Healy, a teacher at Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph School. But another is not knowing what the future will bring. To read this article in Spanish, click here. She taught for the next four days and felt symptoms that Thursday, Sept. 3, which turned out to be Healy’s last day in school. Just how this disease spreads, it’s not enough because it’s not a big enough space.”. Renew My Church . She tested positive and has been home since. By building a Tuition Assistance Fund as a response to the effects of COVID-19, we continue to advance the mission of our Catholic schools to support our families. CHICAGO (WLS) -- Some Chicago Catholic High School students will not return to the classroom this week, after two students tested positive for COVID-19. Last spring, 44 families asked for emergency help, and the school was able to give them $25,000, half of which came from the Big Shoulders Fund. “Our goal was that between spring of last year and fall of this year, we would not lose any students because of finances,” Curley said. I don’t go to restaurants. “Our biggest concern about that plan was that the class sizes would not be reduced, and so we would be 22 students in a classroom not even able to be spaced out,” Meade Magruder said, adding that she felt parent input also was not thoroughly considered. There’s a number that have had some tough times with this COVID, so it came at a good time. Every year the Black Catholic Deacons of Chicago hold a sunrise prayer service to pray for the end to the violence in our neighborhoods and the protection of our children as a new school year begins. The students remain in their classrooms, but as a departmentalized teacher Healy goes into multiple rooms per day. “There is a lot of interest in the in-person option.”. "I am grateful to St. Anthony Hospital for their efforts to build confidence in this vaccination and to Pope Francis for his clear moral guidance on the COVID-19 vaccines," Cardinal Cupich said in a statement released by the Archdiocese of Chicago. The Archdiocese of Chicago has a lot of incentive to open up their schools. He was joined by … They can also choose full-time remote learning, and the school did go to full remote learning for two weeks in October after someone tested positive for COVID-19. The City of Chicago entered phase four of the “Protecting Chicago” framework: Gradually Resume on Friday, June 26. From the start of the Catholic school year on Aug. 17 to Oct. 4, the department tracked cases across 91 schools with 2,750 teachers and staff. DOWNTOWN — The Chicago Department of Public Health is backing Chicago Public Schools’ reopening plan, citing a study commissioned by the agency that … Chicago COVID Contact Tracing. Share your story. Big Shoulders Fund has helped us address families who have been affected by COVID so we can offer more aid.”. COVID-19 is an ever-evolving health … Site Map ; Contact Us ; Privacy Policy Neither Healy nor her husband have underlying health conditions, and so far she feels relatively fine — almost two weeks after her first symptoms, she still has a sore throat and a runny nose, but no fever. Learn More. I like my families a lot. Her Catholic school, Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph School on the Near North Side, like most others run by the Archdiocese of Chicago, was reopening full-time for in-person instruction during a pandemic. She had worn a mask and a face shield each of her four days at school. “They’ve been responsive.”. Catholic high schools across the Chicago area have been looking for ways to provide more financial help for students and families since the COVID-19 pandemic first shut the doors of schools and most businesses last spring. Especially in a pandemic, I don’t want to give up the things I know. Healy, 38, had emailed Archdiocesan administrators her concerns over the summer and heard no response. In that time, there were 59 cases of COVID-19 among 31 schools, according to the study. Catholic Church. Chicago Schools Create Once-Monthly Coronavirus Testing Program For Staff As Students Return. We’re just going to absorb the credit for this year. Family helps family as long as they are able to.”. Students who choose in-person instruction at Holy Trinity attend classes on a hybrid schedule, as is the case at most Catholic high schools. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia Office of Catholic Education has created the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information page as a resource for our students, school families, and employees to help navigate this rapidly changing landscape. Q: I am having difficulty paying tuition, as my own workplace has been impacted by COVID-19. More than ever, we are committed to providing quality education and support to our students and family. SUDBURY -- One class in Sudbury has been dismissed following a confirmed case of COVID-19. This includes mandatory masking, physical distancing, enhanced cleaning, and daily symptom screening. “My school is really trying,” Healy said, praising her principal, Katie Sullivan, for doing her best to keep the building safe and providing hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies. “We’re helping our families with a $500 reduction this year,” Schmidt said. One thing they all agree on: None of them wants to lose students whose families have lost income because of the pandemic. Attendance by teachers this week has been uneven. Praising those who help the sick and praying for those who are sick, Pope Francis called on Christians to practice what they preach, including by guaranteeing equal access to health care for all people. “I’ve been very careful in general,” Healy said. At Trinity High School in River Forest, leaders agreed to take $1 million from the school’s strategic reserves — essentially, a rainy day fund — and use it for families that suddenly couldn’t pay their full tuition, said Laura Curley, the school’s president. Healy was at school for two orientation sessions Aug. 26 and 28, then classes started the following Monday. Chicago Public Schools insists its buildings are COVID safe and sanitized, but many teachers aren't buying it. Our Catholic schools depend upon tuition revenue to pay our employees who do this work and support other school-related expenses. Catholic schools in Cook and Lake counties will be closed indefinitely starting Monday, March 16, Archdiocese Superintendent of Catholic Schools Jim Rigg said in a letter to parents. They’ve taken measures from across-the-board tuition discounts to increased fundraising and partnerships to digging into their savings accounts. Big Shoulders Fund helped with an effort to support both families who work in the hospitality and restaurant industry and those who worried about being able to buy food, providing vouchers for families to buy take-out meals from restaurants that are owned by or employ Holy Trinity families, Malloy said. A Catholic school teacher went back to school. She said she suggested to the Archdiocese that smaller class sizes could help keep students and teachers safe. I know my curriculum, I know what I’m teaching. Cook County Vaccination Website . The school outbreak map shows the current status of COVID-19 in K-12 schools across Alberta. “We’re really all taking this one day at a time,” she said. “My choice was kind of like resign or try this out. Schools that have 2 or more confirmed cases will be identified on the map. Catholic Schools . She got COVID-19 four days later. Like many teachers and some families with kids in schools run by the Archdiocese, which for months expressed confidence it could safely reopen schools, Healy’s anxiety over resuming in-person learning had been building. Lake County COVID-19 Website . Everyone has had difficulties caused by the pandemic, Schmidt said, so the school decided to make things a little easier for everyone by offering a one-year tuition reduction. Chicago Católico . “I like my school. Vocations . Families at all three schools are happy to have their children in classrooms, school officials said, but it’s far from a normal year. Margaret Healy’s first week back in school in her 16th year of teaching started with a panic attack. "Public Health continues to investigate the situation and if any risks to the school community are identified, they may direct … “Fundamentally it boiled down to safety.”. But you’re forced with this choice, and right now it’s like, well, I feel like I made the wrong choice.”. But a mother of two students at ICJS who asked to remain anonymous said any back-to-school plan that doesn’t include regular testing is unsafe. Archdiocese COVID-19 Relief Fund Archdiocese of Chicago and Catholic Charities workers and volunteers are on the frontlines supporting those affected by the devastation of COVID-19. Archdiocese of Chicago suspends public celebration of Mass and closes Catholic schools starting Saturday to slow spread of the coronavirus. Chicago Catholic . There are many working-class families who struggle balancing at-home learning and a parent’s work, while others fear the mental health impact on children who haven’t socialized with friends for months. In a letter sent home to parents of St. David's Catholic elementary school, Director of Education Joanne Benard said that a new case had been reported in the school. “My choice was kind of like resign or try this out. January 13, 2021 » Continue to this story on Chicago Catholic CWN Editor's Note: The “multimedia COVID-19 vaccination awareness campaign to … Religious School. “I felt like I was put between a rock and a hard place,” Healy said. Parents, please review the safety guidelines received from Ms. Jenna prior to the start of the year. She said goodbye to him over a video call. In Backing CPS Reopening, Health Department Studied COVID In Catholic Schools — Which Presents Problems, Critics Say blockclubchicago.org - Joe Ward. I don’t see people.”. Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools. Previous Next. “There are so many challenges,” Trinity’s Curley said. “So many of our families, three-quarters of them, receive some kind of financial assistance to attend St. Patrick’s. We did have several apply and we were able to help them.”. Consecrated Life . The Archdiocese of Chicago and the Diocese of Joliet have canceled all in-person classes at their Catholic schools amid concerns over a coronavirus pandemic. “We’re getting the word out to our alumni,” Schmidt said. This year with the Covid-19 pandemic, the prayer service will be held … “My choice was kind of like resign or try this out. For years, many Catholic schools have closed due to enrollment declines. TV and Radio . The school also shifted its spring gala to an online fundraiser and brought in $220,000 for tuition relief. Asked about Healy’s criticism of the Archdiocesan plan, Lombardo, who was one of the two administrators she emailed over the summer, said he does “not comment on individual personnel matters.”, “Multiple stakeholders and constituencies were consulted over several weeks as our reopening plan was developed,” he said. How 1 Chicago school district got kids back in the classroom during COVID-19 Around 70% of students are going in person, thanks to a saliva testing system. We’ve also seen our scholarship partners step up. Catholic schools in urban neighborhoods, often seen as an attractive option by low income parents and families of color, are facing an unprecedented crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. And I tried it, and this is what happened.”. The Chicago Teachers Union, however, said many schools still carry risks for the coronavirus. The school saw more families apply for financial aid this school year, something Malloy expects to continue. And I tried it, and this is what happened. Jennifer Meade Magruder, whose youngest son attends a different Archdiocesan-run school, compared the district’s plan to the federal government’s response to the coronavirus: Individual schools, like states, were left to fend for themselves, resulting in a patchwork response. Catholic Standard. Fourth and fifth grade students who attend school in the same building have continued in-person classes. The school has also launched its “Shamrock Cares” fund, with a goal of $500,000, to help families going forward. Meade Magruder, of Morgan Park, said school staffers are trying their hardest, and she respects their work, but she kept her son home. She blames the Archdiocese for not giving school workers the choice to stay at home and teach remotely. She got COVID-19 four days later. “Following the guidance of competent healthcare authorities our plan does not call for an entire school to shut down for one positive case,” chief human resources officer Justin Lombardo said through a spokesman. “We were all put in this position where you can see an accident is about to happen and you can’t do anything to stop it.”. “We’re in the middle of a pandemic and you’re trying to put a couple hundred people in a confined space,” Healy said. John Malloy, chief operating officer at Holy Trinity High School, 1443 W. Division St., said the school jumped into action as soon as businesses, bars and restaurants were forced to close last spring. Families that need more help have been able to get it by going through the usual financial aid application process, Schmidt said. Chicago Public Schools insists its buildings are COVID safe and sanitized, but many teachers aren't buying it. “Those individuals will be deemed absent without leave, and they will not be eligible for pay … Archdiocesan officials said Wednesday that there have been 16 confirmed cases among the 45,500 Chicago-area Catholic students and staff in the past seven days. “My largest class is 24 [students], and my smallest class is 15,” Healy said, noting there’s only enough room for kids to be spaced about three feet from each other — less than the recommended six feet. “They wanted to do something creative that would help in two ways.”. Healy’s father, Patrick, passed away from COVID-19 in an assisted living facility in July. While teachers have been asking the district to implement testing of students and staff if they are to return, CPS' plan applies only to staff on a once-monthly, voluntary basis. Not all Catholic school stakeholders have felt a return to schools is unsafe. Students at St. Patrick High School, 5900 W. Belmont Ave., also can attend in-person half the time on a hybrid schedule, with half the 550 students in the building at a time, although some have chosen full-time remote learning, said President Joe Schmidt. For years, many Catholic schools have closed due to enrollment declines. @CardinalBCupich received the second round of the COVID-19 vaccine ... today at St. Anthony Hospital. “We have not seen that as guidance from any local public healthcare authorities.”. “But just being in an enclosed space with students for an extended amount of time [isn’t safe]. But where some see a threat, besieged Catholic schools see a … She worries that the longterm effects of the novel disease are unknown, and she’s frustrated there was little if any teacher input in the decision to reopen school buildings. “Our plan continues to evolve based on our experience so far as well as input from these same constituencies and the regularly evolving guidance from public healthcare experts.”. ICSJ is operating under a block schedule in which Healy sees three classes per day for 55 minutes at a time, then another three classes the next day. “We’ve been appealing to our donors to increase their support in these challenging times. Catholic high schools across the Chicago area have been looking for ways to provide more financial help for students and families since the COVID-19 pandemic first shut the doors of schools and most businesses last spring. When Cardinal Cupich joined other clergy in publicly receiving a COVID-19 vaccine Dec. 23 at St. Anthony Hospital, it marked the beginning of an archdiocesan campaign to encourage everyone to be vaccinated when they are able to. “We’ve seen families who have not previously applied for financial aid applying, and we’ve seen families who already get financial aid needing more,” he said. “We’ve seen a small growth in our enrollment since the pandemic began,” Malloy said, noting that the enrollment stands at 340 students. Despite the limitations, our students have been involved in Google Classrooms, Zoom meetings, various online programs, received packets and participated in many other creative opportunities. The Archdiocese of Chicago has a lot of incentive to open up their schools. It’s not that they’re not trying. “Fortunately, at that point, we only had three months left of the school year and three months of tuition left. If you receive a call from 312-74-COVID (312.742.6843), please answer it and provide the contact tracer with as much information as possible. Days later, Healy’s first week ended with a coronavirus diagnosis. Lea este artículo en español en La Voz Chicago, un servicio presentado por AARP Chicago. The Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments asked priests to take special anti-COVID-19 precautions this year when distributing ashes on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17, including sprinkling ashes on the top of people's heads rather than using them to make a cross on people's foreheads. Healy, who teaches science and religion in her sixth year at ICSJ, suspects she was infected at school — she had direct contact with someone else there who tested positive for COVID-19, leading her to get tested. 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