REOPENING PLAN

St. Helen School 
2020 In-Person Operating with Trust Plan 
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REOPENING UPDATES

**If you are not recieving updates from Principal Vance via email and your child is registered for the 2020/2021 school year, please click HERE to sign up**
August 5 Daily Update:

Dear St. Helen Families~
 

 

 

Thank you for your ongoing support of the St. Helen's community of learners and teachers!

Apologies, as I understand my email last night created confusion. Please allow me to clarify. My intent is to provide a robust learning environment for all St. Helen families this school year. We know some families intend to have students learning at school while others will learn at home. The plan as of today is as follows:

 

1. If you would like to send your student to school, St. Helen School is open and will remain open unless the Archdiocese closes all Catholic schools.  

 

2. If you are not comfortable sending your student to school, St.Helen will offer e-learning by St.Helen teachers. Details are being developed and the curriculum will be the same as in person learning.

 

3. If school is closed, those who were in person will shift to e-learning by St. Helen teachers.

 

Understanding how many students will be in person versus at home allows us to plan logistically and educationally to serve the needs of all St. Helen families.  Please fill out the survey by Monday at 8am if you have not already done so.  

August 4 Daily Update:

  • First, please understand that the situation in the country and in the city is changing daily and plans we make as an Archdiocese and as a school have had to be modified several times over even in the past two weeks.  It is not possible to give updates on every single conversation.  We all want clarity and transparency, and I will share decisions as they are made.

  • Decisions are made based on two things: what is science telling us and what is best for students for their educational growth and their social-emotional development.  Both aspects are taken into account when making decisions, both at the Arch level and at the school level.  Since St. Helen's is an Archdiocesan school, we are required to follow the mandates set forth by the Cardinal.  I cannot disregard the rules or protocols that are given to schools.  When decisions are made, there are many people above me that have to sign off on those decisions.  I speak to my Regional Director daily, sometimes multiple times in a day, and her priority is the same as mine: to provide the highest quality, most consistent educational experience for the greatest number of students in the safest way possible, using science and facts as our guide. 

  • A short time ago, I sent out a brief survey to ask about remote learning versus in person.  At that time, the only option for remote learning was the Arch third party vendor.  Both the Arch and St. Helen needed that data to gauge what families wanted.  Since that survey, things have changed and the Arch is asking schools to gather data from families to see who would commit to each of the three options: in person learning, remote with a third party vendor or remote with St. Helen's teachers.  That is why we need this second survey.  St. Helen's needs to know how many children will be in the building and how many families prefer remote learning with our teachers so we can finalize class lists and schedules and think about how to deploy teachers to cover both of those groups.

  • I have received many questions about tuition--payments are due very soon.  Please know that whether you choose in person learning or remote learning, our fixed expenses do not change.  Tuition is a large part of our operating budget, and that budget was set months ago.  Our teachers deserve to be paid whether they are delivering instruction in the building or remotely.  It is important that we collect tuition on time, as planned.

  • Finally, if you have questions, please direct them to me or the Archdiocese Reopening Schools information email: reopenschools@archchicago.org.  Information from other parents may be out of date or inaccurate since circumstances are changing rapidly.

August 3 Daily Update

With the arrival of August, and health and safety protocols changing so rapidly around the country, I am planning daily updates to keep you informed.  

  • I have been meeting regularly with teachers.  They have been giving me good feedback about the reopening plan, helping us make any necessary changes.  

  • I am meeting with the full staff tomorrow and the early childhood teachers later in the week to continue hearing their thoughts and ideas.

  • A survey will go out on Wednesday August 5 to gather parent opinions on the e-learning options.  Responses will be due Friday August 7.  I realize that is a fast turn-around, but we need to know this information to move forward with plans.  

  • I have met with a small parent group to hear the thoughts and feelings of the community and am in daily communication with my Regional Director as we think through next steps in light of the latest directives from the Archdiocese.  

 

The safety of St. Helen's students and the quality of their educational experience is driving every decision I make.  Because the situation in the city is so fluid, we may have to adapt the original plan.  I will keep you informed through daily emails.  

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2347 W. Augusta Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60622

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John Hoffman

jhoffman@sthelenchicago.org

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