A Special Message from Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York Michael J. Deegan
August 12, 2021 | Feast of Saint Jane Frances de Chantal
Dear Catholic School Community,
As the 2021-2022 school year draws closer, it is time for us to revisit our reopening plan for Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New York.
This time last year, we were confronted with an unprecedented undertaking: to safely reopen our buildings in the midst of a global pandemic while continuing to educate our students. Headlines written last year bear witness to our ability to adapt and rise to the challenge as Catholic schools across the country looked to us as the gold standard and continue to do so. Thanks to the work of our diligent and resilient pastors, principals, teachers, students, and families, we were blessed with a fruitful and healthy year.
This year, as compounding global health concerns continue to impact the opening of our schools, we prepare to wade through the waters of uncertainty as seasoned professionals. We know for certain that with the continued guidance of our Catholic Schools Reopening Advisory Council, our Catholic schools will continue to remain open for in-person instruction for all students.
As always, I want to thank you, our families, for entrusting us with your children. As they grow spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally, and academically, we promise to be a source of light and knowledge that illuminates their journey in Christ and towards the pursuit of the common good.
At left, I have included the links to our 2021 reopening manual and an informative video, which outline our policies and procedures and speak to our shared commitment to the safety and well-being of our students. These and more free parent resources will appear on this 2021 opening page, which you can visit any time for updates. I hope that as you contemplate the materials provided, you will continue to partner with us in fulfilling our mission of offering a values-infused, student-centered Catholic education—come rain, shine, or ongoing pandemic.
Mr. Michael J. Deegan
Superintendent of Schools
Archdiocese of New York
Catholic Schools Opening: Resources for Parents
Please click on the links below for useful resources for going back to school — for you and your children!
Click here for 2021 Catholic Schools Opening Plan: Resources for Parents — Staying Healthy, Supporting Each Other, Promoting Resilience
NEW! Click here to download and print the 2021 Daily Health Screening Requirements and Checklist for Employees, Parents, Children and Essential Visitors in English, and click here to download and print the Spanish version of this document
NEW! Click here for Parent Backpack for Returning to School
NEW!2021 Advance Child Tax Credit Information for Parents:
Click here for an overview in Spanish and here for online tools in Spanish
NEW! FCC Adds Current School Year to Eligibility Criteria for Emergency Broadband Benefit. Click here for details.
Click here for SensorySmart™ Strategies for Wearing Masks during the Pandemic
Click here Ayudar a los niños a acostumbrarse a las mascarillas from KidsHealth (from Nemours)
Click here for Action Learning Network’s Tips for Helping Kids Wear Masks
Click here for “Mask Up! Tips to Make Kids More Comfortable with Wearing Masks — By Age”
Click here for “Tips for Helping Your Child Wear a Mask”
Click here for a short story, “Seeing Other People Wearing Masks” — in English and Spanish
Click here for a short story, “Wearing a Mask to School”
Catholic Schools Opening Plan At A Glance
For the 2021-22 school year, the primary model will be in-person learning without hybrid or remote learning. This approach includes a return to regular class sizes and face-to-face classes with social distancing in accordance with current guidelines.
In the event government mandates change, schools will adjust this model of instruction based upon CDC and governmental guidelines, in collaboration with the Health and Safety Task Force of the Office of the Superintendent of Schools and the superintendent of schools.
Students will be grouped in consistent cohorts each day to reduce the number of students potentially exposed to someone infected with COVID-19. These cohorts will remain together throughout the day in the same classroom or other designated areas of the building as much as possible, and teachers will change locations instead of students. Students will eat breakfast in the classroom, and all special subjects (art, music, physical education, language, computers, etc.) will be taught in the classroom.
Students and staff are required to wear face masks and keep appropriate social distancing when in the school building; wearing masks outdoors is highly recommended in areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases.
COVID-19 vaccination is a critical prevention measure to help end the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 vaccines are now widely available in the United States, and the CDC recommends all people twelve years and older be vaccinated against COVID-19, which protects against COVID-19, including Delta and other variants. Because COVID-19 vaccination is not mandated, any individual is free to exercise discretion. Search vaccines.gov, text your zip code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find COVID-19 vaccine locations near you.
Social distancing markers and signs will be prominently displayed:
Markers will be placed along the sidewalk, fence, play yard and parking lot around the front doors
Signs will indicate six-foot distances and have arrows pointing toward the screening area
Daily screening and mask requirements
Temperature screening and screening questions will be taken as each staff member and student enter the building
Students and staff are required to wear face masks and keep appropriate social distancing when in the school building; wearing masks outdoors is highly recommended in areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases
Handling sick students or staff
Schools will designate a “Guardian Angel” room (isolation room) where students and staff with COVID-19 symptoms are to be placed while they await pick-up and safe exit from the building
Persons with fevers of 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit or above or who are exhibiting other signs of illness shall not be admitted to the school
Life in Class
All students in Grades K through 8 will receive five days of classroom instruction
Classrooms should accommodate space for all students in a grade. The goal is that the maximum amount of distance between students and teachers be achieved to fit all students in a classroom. If required, schools may go below three feet to fit all students in a classroom as suggested by the CDC, with regional superintendent approval. Schools will implement enhanced mitigation measures for these classrooms.
Students will not to be grouped in configurations that would require them to face one another
Teachers’ desks will be in the front of the classroom facing the students
Additional preparation for early childhood students
In school, young students will be trained to work in their center-based classrooms safely, following social distancing and health and safety routines, which will be practiced, with support, throughout the day
Instructional models will be developmentally appropriate and flexible to meet the needs of families who support their children’s learning at home
Breakfast will be served in class
Lunch can be offered in the cafeteria provided proper social distancing and sanitization occur between cohort uses and the room is not being used as a classroom
Students will be permitted to bring their own water and snacks; sharing will not be permitted. Vending machines will not be operable
School signage will be installed to promote safety
Social distancing reminders
One-way hallways and stairs
Sanitizing stations and reminders
Technology Availability and Adaptability
Technology to Enable On-Site and Remote Learning
In addition to making Wi-Fi, SMART Boards and Chrome books available in-class, classrooms will be equipped to provide live sessions via zoom in the event a sudden shift to remote or hybrid instruction is approved in an emergent situation
Schools could close abruptly and may be remote or hybrid for some time, depending on changing conditions
Cleaning and Maintenance
During the school day…
Clear protocols will be in place to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least daily and, as practicable, regularly throughout the day
Trained custodial staff will be on hand to maintain cleanliness in high-traffic areas
And after school…
Classrooms will disinfected at the end of each day by custodial staff, who will be equipped with proper protective equipment
Join Us As We Build A New Future Together
We are preparing the way ahead, so that our students can return safely, healthily and happily to school
For questions relating specifically to your school, please contact your principal
We look forward to welcoming you and your children back to class in September!
Financial Assistance is still available: the sooner families apply for 2021-22, the better their chances of receiving an award.