Senior administrators from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office of Catholic Education have worked in conjunction with various partners over the past several months to develop plans for the safe reopening of school on time in September.
This work was accomplished through task forces focused on the unique educational, emotional, spiritual, and physical needs of students and school families in elementary and secondary schools as well as schools of special education throughout the five-county region. Differences in plans allow for the distinct educational and physical needs of the various student groups based on best practices.
The parish and regional elementary plan outlines an in-person instruction model for younger students. At the high school level, a hybrid A/B instruction plan will be implemented, allowing for half of the total number of students to be physically present each day. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s plan for special education calls for five days per week of in-person instruction. The plans also outline safety measures and social distancing protocols that will be implemented at elementary and high schools.
Flexibility is a hallmark of the reopening plan with two factors in mind. First, the Archdiocese recognizes that students and families in its school communities may face a host of health concerns as well as general anxiety regarding the potential for the spread of COVID-19. As such, virtual and other distance learning options are available at most schools for any family that feels uncomfortable sending their children to school for in-person instruction.
Second, the Archdiocese has recognized the essential need to be nimble in the face of the ever-evolving pandemic landscape. Developments will be constantly evaluated and plans adjusted accordingly. The Archdiocese has the capacity and is prepared to provide a virtual learning environment to the greatest extent possible if necessary.