Dear Central Catholic Families,
I pray that this note finds you and your families healthy and enjoying the last few weeks before our scheduled return to the classroom.
We continue to gain more information about COVID-19 and the safest procedures for returning to school on August 19. We are in regular communication with the Office of Catholic Schools (OCS) and have consulted with local medical personnel. With their guidance, and following recommendations from the CDC and the State of Illinois, we have developed the following plan. This is the plan as we know it today - we will need to be flexible to adapt to new circumstances and guidelines as they become available.
The OCS followed three guiding principles for their plan to reopen Catholic schools in the Diocese.
- Our school buildings will provide a safe and faith-filled environment for our students.
- The course of the pandemic in Illinois remains fluid. As such, this OCS Diocesan Plan may be updated on a continual basis as pandemic data and guidelines are regularly reviewed.
- OCS asks that our school families assist us in serving the common good and work in cooperation with not only their diocesan school but also with the OCS to the best of their ability.
Who was Involved / How it was Developed
The OCS Diocesan Plan was created from discussions with the superintendent of the Diocese of Rockford, the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Diocese of Joliet, the Diocese of Springfield and the Diocese of Belleville. The Transition Joint Guidance document created by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the guidance from the Catholic Mutual Group were reviewed. Finally, a representative group of OCS diocesan principals and licensed medical professionals in the Peoria and Bloomington-Normal areas were consulted by the Superintendent of Schools in the design of the OCS Diocesan Plan.
I’m sharing three documents with you today, linked below. The first is a summary of Central Catholic High School’s plan for the 2020-21 school year; the second is a detailed document from the OCS reflecting the data and thought behind each of our decisions; the third is a press release from the OCS:
Options for Instruction
Families will choose from two options for instruction this year. Both options are synchronous, meaning the students will meet together in a live session and follow our regularly scheduled class times. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class for students attending in-person and for students logging in remotely. Families that choose to enroll in remote learning will commit to this format for one quarter at a time. The first quarter ends on Friday, October 16, 2020.
- If a family chooses the in-person instruction option, students will meet as we traditionally have on campus.
- If a family chooses the remote learning (virtual learning) option, students will sign in and connect via WebEx to their assigned class. Students are required to be logged in at the beginning of every class and participate as they would if they were on campus.
- * More information will be shared with families closer to the start of school
Technological Advances for Instruction
We are excited to share with you the technological advances we’ve made which will create a fully synchronized, state of the art learning experience for our students.
Regardless of which option a family chooses for instruction, there are three scenarios that may play out this year.
- In-person instruction - where all students will be in the building at the same time.
- Mixed model - where some students will learn in the building and some students will not, based on choice or CDC COVID-19 guidelines.
- Full remote learning - should we be required to do so based on stay-at-home orders.
I am thrilled to share with you that we are prepared for all three.
Every student is already equipped with a device. Using Room Ready, Google Classroom and Web Ex as our platform we are equipping every classroom with a Poly Studio device and a 55” TV screen, which includes a camera, microphone and speakers. This creates a synchronized, secure classroom experience whether students are in the building or learning remotely from home. The goal of implementing this system is to ensure that all of our students receive the same high level of education that you should expect from our school.
Teachers will be able to see both students in the classroom and students logging in remotely. Students not in the classroom will be able to see and hear their teacher in the classroom, without the distraction of being able to see other students online. It is completely interactive. The identical class schedule will be followed each day regardless of where a student may be participating.
Mr. Arnolts and I will keep you updated as COVID-19 guidelines and this plan continue to evolve. We consider our school to be an extension of the values that you teach in the home and now we ask that you be an extension of what we are teaching in the classroom. The manner in which you present this plan to your children will be reflected in their attitude toward learning in this new system. While it may not be an ideal situation, we have worked hard to make this the best situation we can offer.
Thank you for your support. I assure you that every member of our faculty and staff looks forward to seeing your students back in our halls and classrooms.