We hope this email finds you and your family well! We have good news to share – we have received approval from the Diocese for reopening the St. Mary’s Religious Education program. The Diocese is following the guidelines mandated by the State of Illinois for school openings. We have appreciated your patience and understanding during this time. We are so excited to begin our year and our student’s faith journey!
With District 58’s announcement that they will be starting school on September 1st and going fully remote for the first quarter of the school year, we have decided to make a few alterations to the RE opening plans.
Religious Education will begin on Wednesday , September 30th. We wanted to give all of our families the opportunity to adjust to the school year schedule before RE begins. We will continue to evaluate if we will be in-person or remote. Our decision will be announced toward the end of September. Our true goal is to get the students into the classroom but we want to make that happen with the utmost regard for the health and safety of the children. If we do open with in-person classes, we will use a hybrid program that is outlined in this letter. If any family decides that they prefer a fully online program this year, it will be available to them no matter what grade their student is in. We will provide student books to all families in
September and will set up a pick up schedule. We will also share links to our online program via family emails. For 2nd and 8th grade, we are developing plans for additional formation and will be in contact with those families regarding this.
When we move to a hybrid program, this is how our RE year will look to keep our students, families, Catechist and volunteers safe and healthy:
We will only offer 2 sessions this year:
- Wednesday 4:30 to 5:45 grades 1 to 8
- Thursday 4:30 to 5:45 grades 1 to 8
Our decision is based on the current RE enrollment with the Wednesday 6:30 session having very few students registered. Combined with the cleaning and sanitation requirements we must adhere to and with RE utilizing the school classrooms, it was challenging to adequately clean and sanitize the classrooms in between the two Wednesday sessions. For those families who have registered and chosen Wednesdays at 6:30pm, we will be contacting you shortly to discuss options.
We will continue to offer a Wednesday night 8th grade Confirmation class from 6:30 to 7:45pm. We realize that with 8th grade schedules, this was an important class to continue. This class will be held in the Gathering Place.
We will not be offering a Kindergarten program this year. We determined that it would be challenging to try and keep Kindergarteners socially distant.
We also realize that it would be challenging to bring in all the RE students to each session and keep to social distance guidelines, which is no more than 15 students in each classroom. We willing be doing a rotating schedule by grade:
Sacramental grades 1, 2, 7 and 8 – in person classes the first 3 weeks of each month
Grades 3 to 6 – in person classes the 4th week of each month
We also have some new guidelines for the school building:
- Masks must be worn at all times by all students, Catechist, volunteers and staff in the building
- All persons entering the building will have their temperature checked. If someone has a temperature of 100 degrees or above, they will not be allowed in the building
- Please make sure your child/children use the bathroom before leaving home. Bathroom usage will be for emergency situations only
- Parents will not be allowed in the building this year. All pick up and drop off will be done in the parking lot. Children will cross the street from the parking lot to the school in the designated crossing areas with the crossing guard. Staff and volunteers will be waiting for the students at the main entrance
- If an emergency situation arises, Parents will be allowed in the building and must adhere to the above stated guidelines
- Children will be responsible for bringing their RE workbook and a writing utensil to class each week. These materials cannot be kept in the classrooms or provided on a weekly basis to avoid exposure risk.
We realized that this year will require equal amounts of patience, flexibility and understanding. We will continue to communicate updates as we progress through the year. We look forward to a year full of prayer and faith.