Diocese of Joliet

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Coronavirus - COVID-19 Information

August 11, 2021, 7:00 p.m.:

We have received an overwhelming number of comments, questions, emails and phone calls since announcing our compliance with Gov. Pritzker’s mask mandate for schools. We hear you. We are using this School Mask Mandate Q&A to addresses the most frequently asked questions. May God continue to bless our Catholic schools and everyone in our school communities.

School Mask Mandate Q&A

August 4, 4:30 p.m.:

Gov. J.B. Pritzker today announced a mask mandate for all PreK-12 school students and staff. During the 2020-21 academic year, Diocese of Joliet Catholic schools followed scientific mitigation guidelines offered by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Public Health and recommended by the Illinois State Board of Education. These efforts allowed our schools to successfully conduct in-person learning with masks.

The safety of our students remains a top priority, along with providing academic excellence guided by Catholic values. To comply with the mandate, we will require masks for all students, teachers, staff and visitors in our Catholic schools for the 2021-22 academic year. We pray for those affected by the coronavirus, and we pray for an end to this pandemic. 

August 1, 2021, 6:30 p.m.:

We have evaluated the health recommendations released 7/27/21 from the CDC and adopted by IDPH. While we recommend that masks be worn by all students, teachers, staff and visitors in our diocesan schools regardless of vaccination status, we are staying the course with our 7/21/21 guidance that parents will decide whether their children will wear a mask at school. If there is a significant change in the infection rate, schools will need to increase the level of mitigation, including the use of masks for all. Every action we have taken to date has worked in keeping our students and staff safe and healthy. Thank you for your patience as we consider the implications these ever-changing recommendations have for all diocesan schools. Thank you for your prayers as we continue preparations for the start of the new school year.

July 21, 2021, 3:00 p.m.:

Dear Parents and Guardians,

During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Diocese of Joliet Catholic schools have followed scientific mitigation guidelines offered by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). These efforts allowed our schools to successfully conduct in-person learning for our students during the 2020-2021 academic year. 

The CDC recently issued guidance for in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year beginning this August, which was adopted by IDPH and ISBE. Diocesan schools will follow this guidance as follows: 

  • Fully vaccinated individuals do not have to wear a mask indoors or outdoors. Individuals who are not fully vaccinated — including children younger than 12, who are not yet eligible for vaccination — are recommended to wear masks. Staff and students will not be required to provide their vaccination status. 

    Parents will decide whether their children will wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. All parents will be required to sign a “Mask Use” form. This is based on the decision-making control granted to local school administrators by the CDC guidance:  

    “CDC continues to recommend masking and physical distancing as key prevention strategies. However, if school administrators decide to remove any of the prevention strategies for their school based on local conditions, they should remove them one at a time and monitor closely (with adequate testing through the school and/or community) for any increases in COVID-19 cases. Schools should communicate their strategies and any changes in plans to teachers, staff, and families, and directly to older students, using accessible materials and communication channels, in a language and at a literacy level that teachers, staff, students, and families understand.” 
  • Physical distancing of 3 feet is still recommended. 

Diocesan school officials will monitor any outbreak of COVID-19 cases and, if needed, implement more stringent mitigation efforts — including mandatory masking — to provide a safe learning environment for our students and staff. 

Remote learning availability is a building-based decision. Please contact your local school for details.

We look forward to the new school year and welcoming back our students to a diverse curriculum focused on academic excellence and Catholic values.  

Michael J. Boyle, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Catholic Schools

Resources:  

CDC guidance on K-12 schools: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/k-12-guidance.html 

IDPH guidance on K-12 schools: http://www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/community-guidance/school-guidance 

IDPH press release: http://www.dph.illinois.gov/news/illinois-department-public-health-adopts-cdc-covid-19-prevention-school-guidance 

 

July 20, 2020, 1:00 p.m.:

Bishop Pates and Dr. Boyle provide an update on plans for returning to our schools for the new academic year

June 16, 2020, 2:30 p.m.:

Bishop Pates Announces the Re-Opening of Catholic Schools

April 21, 2020, 2:00 p.m.:

Dear Parents,

Following Governor JB Pritzker’s announcement on April 17 that Illinois will continue its suspension of in-person instruction until the end of the academic year, Bishop Pates mandated that schools operated by the diocese should also remain closed until the end of the academic year. Each individual school will determine the date to finish At Home Learning.

The decision to extend the closure of schools until the end of the academic year applies to all Catholic schools operated by the Diocese of Joliet. All schools not operated by the diocese, such as those sponsored by religious orders, will make decisions individually.

Thank you for your commitment to our Catholic school mission. Let’s continue to support one another as we move forward through this difficult period.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Rev. John Belmonte, S.J., Ph.D.

April 1, 2020, 12:00 p.m.:

Dear School Pastors and Principals:

Following Governor JB Pritzker’s announcement on March 31 that Illinois will continue its suspension of in-person instruction for another 30 days, through April 30, Bishop Richard E. Pates, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Joliet, mandated the closing of schools operated by the diocese for the same time period.

The decision to extend the temporary closure of our schools applies to all Catholic schools, Religious Education, and Youth Ministry programs operated by the Diocese of Joliet. Catholic schools not operated by the diocese, such as those sponsored by religious orders, will make decisions individually.

During the extension of this closure period, Catholic school students will continue to complete At Home Learning activities, and Youth Formation programs will continue to be provided means to facilitate ongoing formation.

One of our school parents captured the feelings many parents have when she said, “Our teachers have gone above and beyond to try and give the students some normalcy in this time of crisis. Morning prayer, Lunch and Listen and daily Zoom calls. Couldn’t be more proud of our school.”

Thank you for your commitment to our Catholic school mission. Let’s continue to support one another as we move forward through this difficult period.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Rev. John Belmonte, S.J., Ph.D.

March 21, 2020, 1:00 p.m.:

Bishop Pates wrote to the Diocese of Joliet earlier today. The statement mentions the closure of “parishes/schools” per the order of the governor of Illinois until April 7. At Home Learning will continue during this time.  

March 21, 2020 10:54 a.m.:

Dear Priests, Deacons, Religious and all members of the Joliet Diocesan Community,

Governor Pritzker has issued an order mandating a “stay in place” for all citizens of the State of Illinois.

The order is effective at 5:00 PM on Saturday, March 21st and has the following implications for the parishes/schools and institutions in the Diocese of Joliet. These restrictions remain in place until April 7th or otherwise notified by the Governor.

  • All churches and adoration chapels must be closed and locked until the order is lifted by the governor. Private prayer in any parish building must be discontinued until the order is lifted.
  • There can be no live Stations of the Cross or any other gatherings anywhere on parish/school property, nor can any parish personnel be involved in organizing them on any other site.
  • All weddings and baptisms must be postponed and can be re-scheduled only once the order is lifted. There are no exceptions to this, regardless of the size of the group. However, in case of an extreme emergency for baptism, please seek the permission of your bishop.
  • Funerals and wakes must be postponed until the order is lifted.
    (Note: Priests can – and are encouraged – to continue celebrating Mass privately and to livestream their Masses for their parishioners, if possible. Moreover, anointing of the sick and confession/absolution guidelines will be forthcoming.)
  • Parish offices must be closed until the governor’s order is lifted.

It is clear that the response to COVID-19 is fluid and we will keep you apprised of developments and provide additional information as it becomes available.

I am fully aware that these and previous measures are disconcerting and disrupting that which is central in our lives. It is painful for all of us. At the same time, we recognize them as essential in order to eliminate the scourge of the virus.

Let us join in prayer to the loving and caring God that He be with us in these trying moments and lead to the elimination of this virus. We pray also for those suffering from the virus and for those that lost loved ones to the illness and all those serving at this time, especially the health care workers.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Richard E. Pates
Apostolic Administrator
Diocese of Joliet

March 13, 2020, 4:00 p.m.:

Based on current guidelines from local public health departments, which recommend the cancellation of public gatherings involving 250 or more people, Bishop Richard E. Pates, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Joliet, mandated the closing of schools operated by the diocese.

The decision to temporarily close our schools, beginning Monday, March 16, applies to all Catholic schools, Religious Education, and Youth Ministry programs that are operated by the Diocese of Joliet until further notice. Catholic schools not operated by the diocese, such as those sponsored by religious orders, will make decisions individually.

During this closure period, Catholic school students will be asked to complete At Home Learning activities, and Youth Formation programs will be provided means to facilitate ongoing formation. 

Knowing that many families depend on the daily services we provide, the Catholic Schools Office, the Office of Youth Formation, and diocesan leadership are working to coordinate extended support to those families and students most in need during this time. More information will be shared in the coming days.

Siguiendo las medidas recibidas del los departamentos de salud pública, las cuales recomiendan las cancelaciones públicas con 250 o más personas, el Obispo Richard Pates, Administrador Apostólico de la Diócesis de Joliet, ha mandado a cerrar todas escuelas operadas por la Diócesis. 

La decisión de cerrar nuestras escuelas temporeramente, comenzando el 16 de marzo, aplicará a todas las escuelas Católicas, Educación Religiosa y Pastoral con Adolescentes operadas por la Diócesis de Joliet hasta nuevo aviso. 

Las escuelas católicas que no son administradas por la diócesis, como aquellas que son auspiciadas por comunidades religiosas, tomarán sus decisiones de cierres individualmente.

Durante el período de cierre, se les pedirá a los estudiantes de las escuelas católicas que completen las actividades del programa de Servicios de Aprendizaje en Casa y los programas de Formación de Pastoral de Adolescentes recibirán los medios para facilitar la formación continua.

Sabemos que muchas familias dependen de los servicios que proveemos diariamente, la Oficina de las Escuelas Católicas, la Oficina de Formación de Adolescentes y el liderazgo diocesano están trabajando para coordinar apoyo extendido a esas familias y estudiantes con más necesidades durante este tiempo. En los próximos días compartiremos más información.

March 12, 2020, 10:00 a.m.:

Letter from the Superintendent

COVID-19 Q & A

Talking to your child about Coronavirus

Communicable/Infectious Diseases Policy 5415

The Joliet Diocesan policy on communicable/infectious diseases is the policy for all Catholic schools in the Diocese. Guidelines from the state/local health departments are followed in all communicable/infectious diseases.