Catholic elementary schools will switch to virtual learning for two weeks after Christmas break

Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools Supt. Jim Rigg said the switch allows families who travel or have large gatherings during Thanksgiving and Christmas to quarantine for 14 days to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 in its schools.

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A pre-kindergarten classroom at St. Genevieve Catholic School, 4854 W. Montana St., Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020.

St. Genevieve Catholic School, 4854 W. Montana St., is among the Chicago Catholic schools that will shift to e-learning to start the new year.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago will pivot to remote learning for two weeks at the start of 2021.

Schools will begin e-learning on Jan. 4 and will return on Jan. 19 after the Martin Luther King Day holiday.

In a letter to parents sent Friday, Jim Rigg, superintendent of Catholic Schools, said the switch was made to allow families who travel or have large family gatherings during Thanksgiving and Christmas to quarantine for 14 days to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 in its schools.

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“Moving to virtual learning for two weeks will allow families who choose to travel or attend family gatherings over the holidays to quarantine for 14 days without a loss of school days or learning time and without jeopardizing the health of other students and staff in their school,” Rigg wrote in the letter. “It is my hope that this decision enables all families and employees to enjoy the upcoming holidays and return safely for in-person instruction.”

While Chicago Public Schools has used remote learning this fall, Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools students have been meeting mostly in person.

In the letter, Rigg explained some archdiocese schools have had to implement learning quarantine periods this year because of infections but hopes the two weeks of e-learning for all its schools will limit the need for any isolated quarantines.

Each school will still provide “on-site extended care options” for students whose families may be burdened by the move to virtual learning.

If Catholic Schools experience significant number of new COVID-19 cases after Jan. 19, it will consider additional virtual learning periods.

Classes will remain in person between Thanksgiving and Christmas break..

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