We have been blessed throughout previous academic years with families who understand the importance of our mission for Catholic Education and who are committed to working alongside us to accomplish these goals. This year, while unbelievably challenging, has demonstrated the level of commitment our families have to support the Catholic Academies and Parish Schools within the Diocese of Brooklyn. It is incredible to witness. I find it inadequate to simply say thank you, as those words don’t even begin to cover my gratitude for your unending support but nonetheless, I will try.
Catholic Schools in Brooklyn and Queens Will Remain Open
The Superintendent of Catholic Schools for Brooklyn and Queens today has announced that all 69 schools and academies will remain open and continue to provide in-person learning, irrespective of any impending decision pertaining to the status of New York City public schools.
Catholic schools in the Diocese in Brooklyn and Queens have provided safe, five days a week in-person learning since beginning this school year, as scheduled, on September 9. The Superintendent has also requested the Department of Education’s Office of Non-Public Schools continue to provide services for Catholic school students, which they are entitled to, including school nurses, transportation, and food, if public schools are to close.
Since September, our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools have been open and operating safely and efficiently. Thank you for your support in ensuring our guidelines for health and safety have been followed. Every person in our extended Catholic Academy and Parish Schools’ community has the responsibility to observe social distancing and wear a mask. This is what will keep the doors to our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools open; this is what will continue to keep everyone at our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools safe and healthy. Our principals, teachers and health aides have rigorously enforced health and safety protocols in our Catholic Academy and Parish Schools. For all this is being done on a daily basis, we are most grateful.
However, as students’ participation in outside extracurricular activities increases, the possibility of exposure to individuals who are positive for COVID may increase for both the students and their families. The same outcome can be true for attending any event with large numbers of people. This past week we have seen a very slight uptick in positive cases, and every positive case has been traced back to exposures at gatherings, parties, and events outside of the Catholic Academy/Parish School. We are sending this letter as a stark reminder COVID protocols do not end at the end of the school day and/or take the weekends off!
With that being said, it is crucial that every family completes the daily self-screening checklist, prior to sending their children to the Catholic Academy/Parish School.
If you can answer YES to any of the questions, your child may NOT enter the Catholic Academy/Parish School building. You MUST contact a health professional for guidance and notify the Catholic Academy/Parish School principal.
As a reminder, the questions are: 1) If your child has any of the following symptoms, that indicates a possible illness, which may decrease the student’s ability to learn and put them at risk for spreading illness to others. Does your child have any of these symptoms?
-Temperature 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit -Sore Throat -New uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing (for students with chronic allergic/asthmatic cough, a change in their cough from baseline) -Diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain -New onset of severe headache, especially with a fever -Shortness of breath Fatigue -Muscle or body aches -New loss of taste or smell -Congestion or runny nose -Nausea or vomiting
2) To the best of your knowledge, in the past 14 days, has your child been in close contact (within 6 feet for at least 10 minutes) with anyone who has tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19?
3) Has your child or a member of your household traveled internationally or from a state with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 per the New York State Travel Advisory in the past 14 days.
According to the New York State Department of Health, your child will need to receive a note of medical clearance and a negative PCR COVID test to return to school, should they develop any symptoms or be sent home from school.
What else can we all be doing to maintain a safe environment for all? We can limit our exposure to large groups of people, continue to practice good hand hygiene, have a supply of masks on hand so that the fabric masks can be washed daily, and ensure everyone in your family receives a flu shot and all immunizations are kept up-to-date.
We truly appreciate everyone’s honesty, cooperation and dedication, to keeping our schools safe and healthy places of learning. During the month of the Most Holy Rosary, we continue to entrust our students, teachers, principals and staff to our Lady; the cause of our hope and joy.
Sincerely, Thomas Chadzutko, Ed.D. Superintendent ~ Catholic School Support Services
Parents and Guardians of Catholic Academy and Parish School Students,
past seven months have been like no other in all my years in Catholic education
and probably like no other in the history of American education. Despite the
many challenges, I have been inspired by the heartfelt actions of our
principals, teachers, and parents throughout this pandemic. I am also sincerely appreciative of what our
parents, teachers and school leaders are continuing to do, to support our Catholic
Academies and Parish Schools, as we begin the 2020-2021 school year.
schools are faith communities and while our Catholic Academies and Parish
Schools did an outstanding job moving to online learning, we missed having the
students in class and couldn’t wait to pray, learn and play together
again. Most families over the summer,
indicated they felt the same way. Some families chose to return to the
2020-2021 school year remotely, with their decision to enroll in the Saint
Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Program, with online instruction. Saint Thomas
Aquinas will begin on September 16, 2020.
Our re-opening days last week, were well-planned, focused on the details and addressed the health and safety concerns of everyone. Having your children return allowed each school community to see their students in person, welcoming their children back with a smile and a socially distant wave and engage the students in learning from the classroom setting. Whoever thought this would be the way learning would occur in 2020? However, by everyone working together, we are all back stronger and ready to tackle what lies ahead. We once again wanted to remind you of basic tenets to support a heathy and safe environment:
thank you again for partnering with us, allowing us to develop and educate the
children you have entrusted in our care.
In closing, I share the prayer below:
Back to School
Dear Heavenly Father,
sent us your Son,
great is your goodness,
great is your love.
as we send our children back to school,
trust again in your care for them,
them see clearly that which is good and reject all evil.
their teachers—guide their hearts.
our children learn and grown, always in your
and under your protection. Let us teach
stand firm, upon convictions yet be merciful and kind.
them, oh Lord. Bless them. Pour out your
grace. Let your glory shine in their
when they suffer, let us understand how to comfort them
hindering your character-building process.
We hope you and your children are doing well and preparing for the reopening of our Brooklyn and Queens Catholic Academies and Parish Schools next week on Wednesday, September 9, 2020.
I am sure that many of you are wondering how Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement yesterday, delaying the opening date of New York City public schools until September 21, might impact us. We want to assure you that our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools will NOT be affected by this decision. We are proceeding with our plan to reopen on September 9 in either of two ways: 100 % in-person or hybrid. Our St. Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Program will begin orientation on Wednesday, September 16, 2020
We expect that the New York City – Department of Education will fulfill its obligations to our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools. By New York City Education Law, the Department of Education must provide essential services like nurses, transportation, meals, and special education and related services. Other services like security guards and crossing guards are provided to us through other agencies.
It is also our expectation that the NYC Pre-K For All Programs will start as previously determined by your Catholic Academy or Parish School.
Again, we look forward to welcoming your children back to school, as scheduled, next Wednesday, September 9th. Principals, board members, teachers, and the entire school staff at our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools have worked tirelessly this summer to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment is in place for all our students, faculty, staff and parents. Our re-opening plans are in compliance with updated mandates and guidance from New York City, New York State, Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control. Please make sure that you review your Catholic Academy/Parish School Re-Opening Plan available on their website
May everyone be healthy, safe, and well as you enjoy these last few days of summer.
Thomas Chadzutko, Ed.D.
Superintendent ~ Catholic School Support Services
Our Catholic Academy and Parish Schools are preparing to reopen for classes on Sept 9th. Most will be able to accommodate full day in-person classes, meeting health and safety guidelines. Some will operate on a hybrid, and there is full distance learning option available. Your local school has, or will be holding information sessions. Please contact your school or Principal with questions and we look forward to the 2020-21 academic year!