As you may be aware, the Archdiocese sent an email to all parents regarding the closing of all archdiocesan-operated schools, effective Monday, March 16, 2020. While this news is a shock to all of us, the school has been preparing for this possibility all week. The Arch Diocese states that it is not yet known how long the system-wide closure will last. The archdiocese is in close contact with the CDC and the IDPH regarding the coronavirus outbreak. The system will be re-opened when it is determined to be safe to do so. We should plan for this closure to last for some time (perhaps several weeks).
Teachers have eLearning plans in place. Grades Pre-k thru 3 will be coming home with hard copies today, while grades 4-8 need to be checking Google classroom daily for their assignments. Teachers will be available via email from 9am to noon each day and will respond to student or parent questions within a two hour window. In addition, we will have extra academic resources and links available on our school website Monday.
In the meantime, please follow the CDC recommendations for steps to prevent illness.
As you know, there is currently a lot of uncertainty about COVID-19 and if/when it will affect St. Michael School. The Illinois Department of Health is encouraging people to start thinking about, and preparing for, the possibility of people not being able to go to work, and/or school closure for a 14 day quarantine period.
We wanted to address some key questions, review safety precautions and add some reminders for everyone during this time.
What is the cleaning process for the school?
We continue to follow the cleaning recommendations from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the CDC. These measures include: disinfecting classrooms, wiping down desks and door handles, washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
How are we helping to prevent the transmission of germs?
Students are being reminded and taken frequently throughout the day to wash their hands and/or use hand sanitizer. Mrs. Morrissey has been providing hand sanitizer for each student before lunch and high traffic areas are being disinfected throughout the day. We are regularly reminding students to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, staying home when you are sick, and covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue or elbow.
The Archdiocese has set restrictions on the following:
During all Masses and liturgies – Refrain from physical contact during the Sign of Peace, refrain from distribution of Holy Communion via the chalice, every consideration should be given to receive Holy Communion reverently in open hands, refrain from holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer, refrain from using Holy Water fonts.
Will extracurriculars be canceled?
As there have been no cases of COVID-19 in our specific area we are currently still holding extracurricular activities. However, attendance at these activities is up to the discretion of each parent.
Will the Play be canceled?
As there have been no cases of COVID-19 in our specific area we have decided to continue with the play as planned. We do ask that if you have a cough, a fever, or shortness of breath, that you do not attend a performance. We encourage families to use their judgment on whether to bring friends and relatives who are older or are vulnerable due to existing health conditions.
Will St. Michael School close?
A decision to close school for an extended period of time is one that will involve a number of agencies, including the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Illinois State Board of Education. At this time, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus involving an Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic school student, immediate family member or employee. As such, the Archdiocese is not yet closing schools but will continue to monitor developments.
Will St. Michael’s utilize eLearning days?
While we do not foresee us having to close, the teachers in all grade levels have already begun preparations for eLearning activities in the event that the school is placed on a multi-day quarantine.
How can I help?
If you discover that you or any member of your family may have been exposed to COVID-19 at work, while traveling, or through a family member, please contact the school office. Please keep your children home from school if they have a fever or are sick. They may return when they have been symptom free for 24 hours.
The situation continues to change rapidly and we will keep you up to date with any and all changes. We appreciate your cooperation and patience. We continue to plan for the worst-case scenario and pray for the best outcome for everyone.