Hello SJS Parents,
Currently with the guidance from the Archdiocese of Chicago and the Illinois Department of Health, St. James School is open as there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our building. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and reinforce healthy habits around the school. As parents and as the first line of education for your children, you may make decisions to keep your children home for preventative reasons and the absences would be excused.
In the meantime, our teachers and administrators are working together to build a Plan B if the Archdiocese, the Illinois State Board of Education, or other government officials force us to temporarily close our doors. The Plan B we are developing is an E-Learning/Online Learning program where students would continue their education from home through our digital technology. E-Learning would allow your children to continue to receive education through their school or home devices with a connection to the internet. These E-Learning Days would count as a school day so we would not have to add days on at the end of the year. More information about E-Learning will be sent out if we are forced to make that decision.
Though we may not be able to prepare for every possible detail, it is wise for us to consider what would need to occur at home and at work. Please review the points below and consider how they apply to your family.
What is Open
- St. James School will remain open. We will continue to closely monitor the situation and reinforce healthy habits around the school.
- Before and Aftercare will still be available for all families to utilize as long as the school is open.
What is Canceled/Postponed
In alignment with the Vicar General at the Archdiocese of Chicago, only essential ministries will continue. As of tomorrow, Friday 3/13/20, the list below of activities that have been postponed or canceled.
- All extracurriculars such as clubs, enrichment groups, and other pre or post-school activities.
- Athletics practices and games.
- Altar Server Training March 14th, 9:00 am and March 15th at 2:00 pm are postponed
- This Friday’s EDGE lock-in has been postponed.
What happens if we have to cancel school?
- If the school needs to close, we will notify families via email, a phone call, and a text message (if you opted in for that service). Additionally, we would post the information on our school webpage.
- We would launch our E-Learning program to continue education from home. Students would be sent home with their devices and we will share instructions on how this program would work.
- If you do not have access to the internet at home, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will work with you to make arrangements to get internet access to your home.
- Please begin to make tentative arrangements for childcare. If St. James School has to close, Before and Aftercare will be canceled.
During this time, we must focus on supporting each other and trust in God. These decisions were not made lightly and I know this throws a significant curveball in your plans and the school’s plans. Our ultimate goal is to FIND A WAY to do what is best for all our children in our care no matter the circumstance. We will continue to use that mentality as a guide for our decision-making process to ensure we are doing what is best. I know that the St. James School community will pull together to face this adversity head-on with calming strength. Continue to assure your kids we will keep them safe and continue to pray for our leaders as we navigate these days ahead.
If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.
A MESSAGE FROM THE ARCHDIOCESE OF CHICAGO
As coronavirus/COVID-19 continues to spread, in consultation with appropriate government agencies and health professionals we are taking steps to bolster preventive measures. Following the guidance from the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), below are guidelines for determining if your agency, department, parish or school should proceed with holding a large event in the foreseeable future. Please note the specific guidance relative to Holy Mass and liturgies.
- Review the event and determine how critical it is to proceed as planned. If not mission critical to your ministry or operations or not urgent, consider postponing the event or cancelling the event.
- To the best of your knowledge, determine if the event will attract a significant number of persons designated in “vulnerable populations,” which, according to CDPH guidelines, include persons:
- over the age of 60
- of any age who are currently ill
- of any age who have an underlying health condition such as chronic lung disease, COPD, asthma, etc. Please see the CDPH guidelines attached for a more complete definition.
- If a significant number of potential attendees are included in any of these groups, strongly consider postponing or cancelling the event.
- If you determine to proceed with the event as planned, communicate to all registered attendees, sponsors, vendors, etc. how you will continue to monitor the situation and adhere to professional guidance.
- Additionally, if you proceed with the event urge all those included in the “vulnerable populations” to stay home and not attend.
- If your event is to be postponed or cancelled, immediately communicate to your attendees and note the refund policy, if applicable.
- If a person in a “vulnerable population” communicates his or her decision to cancel a reservation, please apply a refund, if applicable.
Mass and Liturgies
Per canon law*, a dispensation from the obligation to attend Holy Mass is granted to:
- those of any age who are currently ill and
- those with an underlying health condition. See the CDPH guidelines HERE for a more complete definition.
*(cf. canons 85 and 87, code of canon law, 1983)
Moreover, any person over 60 years old may choose to use this dispensation.
Please communicate this to your community through appropriate local communication channels.
We refer you as well to the directives issued earlier regarding liturgical practices, which can be found at on our dedicated Coronavirus/COVID-19 webpage on IZZY.
The Archdiocese of Chicago will continue to monitor this very serious and fluid pandemic and issue new or additional guidelines based on the best available information from public health agencies and from our Church authorities. Our dedicated page on IZZY will remain a single source for information specific to the Archdiocese of Chicago. The CDC, IDPH and CDPH are important sources to review regularly, as well.
Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our community. Your patience, understanding and cooperation in this challenging time is greatly appreciated.