Reopening Information 2020-2021

  • UPDATE FOR AUGUST 14, 2020

    Once again we are at week’s end.   Below, please find updates relative to the Reopening Plan for CJB.   In this Reopening Plan update, you will find:

    • An Archdiocese of Chicago/Office of Catholic Schools Update including Response to Covid Symptoms
    • Our CJB Weekly Update/Reminders
    • FAQ’s that address questions/concerns which have been submitted this past week from CJB families


    Archdiocese of Chicago/Office of Catholic Schools Update

    1. Schools should ask families to purchase masks for their child(ren).
    • If families are using reusable masks, families should purchase at least two masks, and masks should be washed by parents after every school day.
    • If parents are using disposable masks, masks should be discarded after every school day. Parents should send students with extra disposable masks in case they are damaged during the day.
    • Schools may opt to use transparent masks for select employees, assuming they meet the criteria above.
    • Schools may permit the use of “gaiters” (pull-up face coverings) as an alternative to masks, provided they have three layers of fabric and can remain over the mouth and nose at all times.
    • Valve masks should not be used.
    • Masks should not contain messages or images that would distract from the educational environment of the school.
    1. Athletics.
    • Summer athletics activities have been cancelled.
    • Fall athletics competitions are cancelled. Elementary athletic leagues may postpone fall sports into the winter or spring, if preferred (although a decision on whether winter and spring sports may occur has not yet been made).


    Response to COVID-19 Symptoms


     If a student is exhibiting a fever or two or more other COVID-19 symptoms, the student should be immediately separated from others (ideally in a separate room with clear line-of-sight with a responsible employee).   Students should never be left alone and must always be supervised while maintaining necessary precautions.  Parents should be immediately contacted so the student may be taken home. Schools should utilize other emergency contacts if parents are not reached.

    • Any siblings of the student should likewise be sent home, regardless of whether they display COVID-19 symptoms.
    • Siblings may return for the next day of school unless the student receives a positive COVID-19 diagnosis or the siblings develop symptoms.
    • The student should see a doctor to assess symptoms and/or administer a COVID-19 test. Parents should be encouraged to read the CDC guidance for caring for oneself and others. 
    • For students that see a doctor and it is determined the illness is not COVID-19, either through a test or the doctor’s diagnosis, the student may return to school when symptoms subside.
    • A doctor’s note is required for illnesses that last more than three days. 
    • If the student has symptoms but has tested negative on a COVID-19 test, the student should remain at home until symptoms disappear. They must provide a doctor’s note or the documented COVID-19 test results before being allowed to return to school.
    • If a student tests positive for COVID-19 or does not seek medical attention, students must isolate and not return to school until they have met CDC’s criteria to discontinue home isolation, which currently includes:

    24 hours with no fever (without medication) and other symptoms reduced substantially (by at least 75 percent) and 10 days since symptoms first appeared.

    • Students should be allowed to complete and submit work remotely during time away from school. 

    CJB Weekly Updates/Reminders

    1. No hot lunch will be served this year. Students will be required to bring their own sack lunches daily.
    2. Water fountains will not be used.  Please send your child(ren) with refillable water bottles.
    3. Parent-provided beach towels will be used in our outdoor spaces to ensure social distancing.
    4. New Drop off/pick up times.  In an effort to limit the number of students entering and exiting the building at the same time, we have made the following changes. 
    • Drop off: Families with last names beginning with the letter A-L are asked to drop their student(s) off between 7:20-7:30 AM.  Families with the letter M-Z are asked to drop of their student(s) between 7:30-7:40 AM
    • Pick up:
    • Grades PK-1 will be dismissed from 2:10pm-2:20pm.
    • Grades 2-4 will be dismissed from 2:20pm-2:30pm.
    • Grades 5-8 will be dismissed from 2:30pm-2:40pm.
    • Parents are requested to remain at their cars while waiting for their student(s) and to not congregate in groups during pick up.  Cars parked in the main lot will be allowed to exit the parking lot once all students have been dismissed. 
    1. Our “Packet Pick-Up/Orientation” event will be replaced this year with a VIRTUAL “Meet your Teacher.” Expect an email from your child’s classroom teacher. “Meet your Teacher” will be conducted via Zoom, and it will be recorded to accommodate families with multiple students or for those who are unable to attend the scheduled time.


    CJB FAQ weekly update August 14, 2020

    Q:  How many students do you expect to be in each 4th grade cohort?

    A:  There are currently 22-23 students in each cohort. This number fluctuates daily as parents make decisions for their families.


    Q:  The latest FAQ document stated hot lunch will not be provided. Does that mean milk will also not be provided?

    A:  We are still determining whether or not milk will be provided for students.


    Q:  The FAQ document also stated students should bring a sack lunch. Does that mean no lunch boxes, thermoses, and water bottles?  Will students need to throw out their whole lunch at the end of lunch?

    A:  Students may bring their lunches in traditional lunch boxes.  Refillable water bottles are permitted and recommended.  Students will not be able to use the water fountains this year.  We are having new, filtered water systems installed in each floor for students to fill up their water bottles.    


    Q:  Can my child opt to not receive Eucharist or even go up for a blessing during mass but remain seated. I would prefer for my daughter and all classmates to receive spiritual communion, as putting hosts in so many students’ hands or even placing hands on so many students seems like too easy a way to spread the virus.

    A:  I will present this question to Father Corcoran, but I suspect we will respect family wishes on this. 


    Q:   Can you provide more details on specific sanitation protocols to protect the children and staff?  My son is going to Marist this fall and they had a comprehensive list about additional safety precautions like the availability of sanitizers, use of plexiglass, the frequency of disinfecting rooms, the introduction of touchless water fountains, etc. 

    A:  Each classroom will be supplied with hand sanitizer. Rooms will be thoroughly cleaned at the end of each day. Water fountains are not permitted this year.  We are asking parents to provide refillable water bottles, and are installing touchless water fountains on each floor.    


    Q:  Since my daughter’s 7th grade class will be the largest, how are you going to ensure a minimum of 6 feet social distancing with 29-30 children in one room?

    A:  While students are in their cohort with their masks on, we are following the guideline of “social distancing as much as possible.”    7th grade student desks are roughly 3.5 feet apart in each cohort.  Students will be having lunch in a larger space (gym or cafeteria) to ensure that they are a minimum of six feet apart while eating with masks off. 


    Q:  How are you going to protect our teachers so that they are not put in harm’s way?

    A:  We are following the guidelines provided by the Archdiocese of Chicago/Office of Catholic Schools. 





    Archdiocese of Chicago/Office of Catholic Schools Update


    Quarantine Protocol:  We will now quarantine a cohort after the first confirmed COVID-19 case (vs. the second case). Guidance has also been updated to reflect recent CDC changes as to when an individual can return from quarantine after receiving a positive COVID test.


    CJB Weekly Update


    The Hot Lunch Program will not be offered this year.   Students will be required to bring their own sack lunches daily.  As always, “fast food” is not allowed.


    CJB FAQ weekly update August 7, 2020

    Following are questions and concerns which have been shared during the past week.   The answer/our response follows the question in “bold” typeface.


    1. Last week, the update mentioned keeping masks in a brown paper bag. Can kids keep their mask attached to a lanyard so when they remove it for whatever reason, they don’t need to put it down anywhere and it’s close and easy for them to take off and put on?


    A:        Yes, this is absolutely acceptable for students in Grades K-8. Students will be allowed to use this option while they are eating lunch, outside for recess, 6 feet apart, or outside for instructional purposes (6 feet apart).  We will instruct them to tuck the lanyard and their mask inside their shirts.  (The school is looking into providing lanyards.)


    1. Will students in lower grades still share Chromebooks between their grade classes?


    A:        We have purchased additional Chromebooks so that each cohort can have their own cart.


    1. A previous question was asked whether students who are home due to routine illnesses would have the opportunity to participate virtually. The answer stated that they were not required to participate virtually but did not answer whether it was a possibility. Will this option be available? 

    A:        Currently, students will NOT have the opportunity to participate virtually if they are home with a routine illness.  In this case, we will have missed work prepared for them as we have in previous school years.  This work will be placed on the “homework” shelf in the main office. 

    1. Having students eat their lunches at their desks is not a good idea. In addition to them being too close to each other during that time … breathing on each other … they are also spreading germs on the desks and chairs and school materials. It would be much better to take them to the cafeteria, spread them out, clean the tables and chairs only and return them to the classroom. 

    A:        We agree. We are currently working on a schedule to take students into larger spaces that would accommodate six feet or more of social distancing.

    1. How will students be monitored when their masks are off at lunch or at recess to ensure they are social distancing?

    A:        CJB faculty and staff will be monitoring students during lunch and recess.

    1. What will be the penalty for students who disregard the mask and social distancing protocols? 

    A:        The teachers will address any concern with individual students and if necessary a meeting will be held with the student and administration as well as a phone call to the parent. 

    1. How will the air flow/ventilation system be improved throughout school (both in warm and cold weather)?

    A:        We will be changing filters frequently and windows will be kept open while weather permits.

    1. Can kids use the bathroom anytime during the day? Will bathrooms be cleaned after each use?

    A:        Cohorts will have assigned bathroom times, but students will always be permitted to visit the restroom when needed.   Bathrooms will be cleaned after each cohort uses them.

    1. Will the group choosing to go online be combined with classmates if we all have to go back online at any time or will they be separated until November?

    A:        If the entire school is forced to resort to virtual learning, students will join their cohorts.

    1. What will be the start time and end time of a typical class day for online students?

    A:        Virtual instruction will begin at approximately 7:40am and will end at 2:40pm (except on Tuesdays when dismissal time will be 2pm).

    1. I assume online students will be assigned a class and teacher in case they go back in November but I want to double check. 

    A:        This is correct.

    1. I also want to make sure we will be having a CJB teacher teaching online students through Mrs. Drown’s overseeing of online teaching.

    A:   All CJB teachers will not be providing instruction for those students enrolled in Mrs. Drown’s virtual learning class.  

    1. We did notice a new piece of information regarding NOT grouping the junior high students by ability level. This grade has been promised “next year” on this topic since 6th grade so that is a disappointment. In the grand scheme of life and everything that is happening, it seems a small point but also one that the schedule could finally allow.  Can you please include an explanation of this decision in your next update?

    A:        Health and safety is our number one priority.  If we grouped cohorts according to ability levels, they would not have equal numbers.   It is necessary to have a balanced number of students assigned to each cohort to allow for the greatest amount of social distancing within cohorts.  Teachers will be differentiating instruction to address individual needs.


    1. Will full-day Pre-K 3 and Kindergarten both go to school on August 20 for a half day if our last name starts with B?

    A:   Students with last names beginning with letters A-L will attend half day on Thursday, August 20.   (Students with last names beginning with M-Z will attend for half a day on Friday, August 21.) 


    1. What time will they be released?

    A:        Half day dismissal is at 11:30 am.


    1. Will Monday, August. 24th be a full day, with before- and after-school Extended Day available?


    A:        Yes


    1. Will school be “full day” for in-person instruction?


    A:        Yes.   The school day begins at 7:40am and dismisses every day at 2:40pm (except Tuesdays).  This year, every Tuesday will have a 2pm dismissal.


    1. How can I get the school calendar?


    A:        A calendar was emailed to families early in summer.  That calendar reflected dates and events planned for a “non-covid” schedule.  An update of the calendar is posted on the school’s website.   At the start of every new month, an updated monthly calendar will be included in your Virtual Friday Folder. 


    1. If a cohort must quarantine, I am assuming this includes the teacher. 

    A:        Correct


    1. How will virtual learning occur if the teacher is also quarantined? Will she have the resources to do so from home?   Also, how will this teacher’s absence impact the other cohorts (who also have her for a subject) and are still physically attending classes at CJB?

    A:   Provided that the teacher remains well, she will use our cohort/whole school virtual learning plan.   This plan is currently being worked on and will be shared with parents in the upcoming weeks.  It will include daily virtual instruction in all core areas.   In the case of a teacher’s absence, a substitute teacher will fill in.


    1. My children have an IEP at CJB… due to conditions in the spring, the meeting was postponed.  Will this take place (virtually)  after school begins?


    1. All accommodations spelled out in an IEP will still take place this year.


    1. May I ask why the change from quarters to trimesters?  

    A:        Trimesters allow for more time to assess student growth.   The increased time in trimesters provide students with more time for assessment and project completion.


    Questions Regarding CJB Virtual Learning with Mrs. Drown 


    1. The plan says there will be daily lessons with the teacher. To whom are you referring, Mrs. Drown or the assigned grade level teacher?


    A:        Mrs. Drown


    1. What can we expect for the percentage of time of daily teacher led learning versus digital learning?


    A:        Mrs. Drown will be able to provide more specific information on this.  Students enrolled in our virtual learning option with Mrs. Drown will have live instruction twice daily, once in the morning and again in the afternoon.


    1. Will virtual learning students also receive assignments and teacher led curriculum from Specials teachers such as Spanish, Music, Art and Computers?


    A:        They can have access to our online Spanish program but will not receive instruction in Music, Art, and Computers.  The emphasis will be on Language Arts/Literature and Math.  Project based lessons will address Science and Social Studies.



    1. I understand that this is through Google classroom. Is a Chromebook needed/recommended?


    A:        CJB students in Grades 4-8 have already purchased Chromebooks.  This option will also be available to students in Grdes K-8.


    1. Will students using Virtual Learning be assigned to cohorts?


    A:        Yes.  Students will still be assigned a homeroom (cohort).  This will allow them to remain connected to their Homeroom teacher and have a place to return to for in-person instruction.


    1. If so, will these be cohorts mixed with students attending the classroom sessions?


    A:        Cohorts may be mixed for different types of instruction, i.e., beginning of day, Math for 6-8th grade are a few examples that come to mind.


    1. What type of interaction with teacher and classmates will be provided for the virtual learners?


    A:        Live or recorded instruction will take place daily.


    1. Will they participate in all the classroom activities?


    A:        No, unfortunately this will not be possible.


    1. The letter says that there will be daily lessons with the teacher and group meetings. Does this mean that the experience for the virtual students is separate from the class or together with the class?


    A:        This will depend on the subject.  We have been given permission to live-stream lessons.  This will help us keep our virtual learning students connected to their cohort teacher.  Please keep in mind that we cannot legally include other CJB students in live-streamed or recorded lessons.


    1. How will virtual learners take tests, both the iReady and regular exams?


    A:        Mrs. Drown will orchestrate this both on her own and with the cooperation of the cohort/homeroom teacher(s).


    1. There was a mention of two different virtual learning plans. What is the basic difference between them in the learner’s experience?


    A:        One virtual learning plan addresses students who will not be participating in in-person instruction.  The second one will be put into place should a cohort, multiple cohorts or the entire school must switch to virtual learning.  This plan will be shared with all CJB families in the next two weeks.


    1. Will Kindergarten students have virtual face-to-face with other students to encourage socializing?


    A:        They will be able to have virtual interactions with other CJB students who have enrolled in our virtual learning option.


    1. Will there be a virtual buddy family program for new families?


    A:        This has not been established yet but is definitely something we can consider.


    1. Are additional supplies needed?


    A:        Students who are enrolled in virtual learning will need to have access to a device that will allow them to log on for instructional times.


    1. Is it the same curriculum?


    A:        Emphasis will be on the core subjects of Reading and Math.


    1. We saw a 7:40am start but what is the Kindergarten end-time since they will not have lunch or nap time?


    A:        Students will have a midday break.  Their virtual day will end at 2:40pm.


    1. Is there a transition plan for November if we want to move from virtual to in-person classes?


    A:        This can be discussed with Ms. Bourrell.


    1. If we choose virtual learning are we eligible for the Chromebook program through CJB?


    A:        All CJB families are able to purchase a Chromebook.


    1. Will the Zoom meetings be where my child(ren) can see his classmates so that if he comes back in November, he knows who is in his class?


    A:        No.  We are not legally allowed to record or live-stream students who are participating with the in-person instruction.


    1. Will virtual students receive the same books/materials as in-school students?


    A:  Please see Mrs. Drown’s response below.

    Mrs. Drown’s Vision for CJB Virtual Learning


    “My vision for the CJB Virtual Learning Class looks like an old-fashioned one-room schoolhouse.  I will need to build a community of learners with a wide range of ages and abilities.  Some of our time will be whole group, but the majority of direct instruction will need to be personalized and targeted to individuals and small groups. We will all begin with the CJB Broadcast at 7:40am on a Google Meet.  We will definitely have at least one Religion class together each week. I will be working with the classroom teachers and perhaps we can arrange to have a Google Meet with specific classes.  We will have to take student privacy into account so this may take a bit of time. I cannot promise, as we need to work on this once all of the teachers are back to work. I will be using each grade levels’ priority standards for ELA and Math.  In addition, I will follow each grade levels’ pacing chart to assure that I cover the same standards that are being taught in the first trimester for each grade level.  Student practice activities will be primarily digital, so they can receive immediate feedback, and I can track their progress and plan accordingly.  Each priority standard will need to be assessed.  I am planning on working with the students to create small digital projects where they can demonstrate their mastery of a standard.  This will be a “modified” Project-Based Learning approach. The day begins at 7:40am and will end at 2:40pm or 2pm on Tuesdays, just like those doing face-to-face. Most of the time after lunch will be working on individual tasks and/or projects.  I plan to keep them very busy in hopefully engaging activities that they will want to put the time and effort into.  It will not be the same e-learning that we did this past Spring.  As far as mass on Tuesdays, I would love it if we could do the mass virtually together.  I will plant the seed with Ms. Lau and Mrs. Budlove, as they would be our recording team. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any additional questions that you have or have heard “floating around” our families.  We need to be very transparent and assure parents that we can make this work well if we all work together.  I am looking forward to this new adventure!  Education is certainly adapting to our ever-changing reality.  I read recently that we don’t have to worry too much about screen time for children, we have to worry about the quality of their screen time.  I promise that I will do my best to make sure this is “quality” screen time.  See you soon!”



    UPDATE FOR JULY 31, 2020

    Thank you for your ongoing support as we work to safely reopen CJB.   In this Reopening Plan update, you will find:

    • Information on our Virtual Learning Plan for those students who are unable or not ready to return. 
    • Important pieces of information regarding our back-to-school plan.
    • FAQ’s that address questions which have been submitted to me this past week from CJB families. (Keep these questions coming, we certainly appreciate them!)


    CJB Virtual Learning

    Offered by “Our Very Own Mrs. Drown”

    While we will be offering five days a week of in-person instruction as endorsed by the CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Archdiocese of Chicago/Office of Catholic Schools, we understand that this model does not fit every family’s needs. 

    Attached to this letter you will find our initial outline for Virtual Learning for those students who are unable to attend due to an underlying medical condition, or for those families who are not ready to return. 

    1. If you would like for your child(ren) to participate in our Virtual Learning option versus in-person, we need to know this before  3pm on August 10, 2020.
    2. Families who opt into our Virtual Learning plan will be asked to commit to it for the entire trimester.  (Trimester one ends mid-November. Families may reevaluate their decision at this time.)
    3. This is our initial outline of our Virtual Learning plan.  It will be “tweaked” over the next two weeks.  Updates will be shared with all CJB families.  Additional guidance from the Office of Catholic Schools is expected in the next one to two business days.


    CJB Virtual Learning Outline – What You Can Expect

    1. Schedule – the day begins at 7:40am with Attendance, Prayer and the Pledge plus a Check-in and Daily Goal Setting.
    2. The Platform/Learning Management System (LMS) is Google Classroom for all students.
    3. Virtual Classroom with Daily Schedule and interactives linked.
    4. Grading Policy and Expectations will be in-line with the student’s grade level.
    5. iReady Math and Reading Benchmarks will be used to personalize learning.
    6. Curriculum focus on Priority Standards and plans will follow grade level Pacing Guides.  This will be project-based, student-led, digital learning.   There will be required videos and digital lessons to complete with due dates.
    7. Class Dojo portfolios will be used for PreK through 3rd Grade and Google Drive will be used for Grades 4 through 8.
    8. Daily lessons with the teacher on Google Meet.
    9. One 20-30 minute whole group Religion lesson each week.
    10. Individual and/or small group scheduled meeting times for discussions, Q&A, remediation or enrichment.
    11. The teacher will record tutorials, as needed, for students to view.


    CJB Back-to-School Updates

     1.  The first day of school for students whose last names begin with A-L will be Thursday, August 20th. This will be a half day for students to allow for teacher professional development in the afternoon.

    2.  The first day of school for students whose last names begin with M-Z will be Friday, August 21st. This will be a half day for students to allow for teacher professional development in the afternoon. 

    3.  Until further notice, students will have the option of wearing their gym clothes to school instead of their school uniform.  We understand that students have to adjust to many changes; we want to help make them as comfortable as possible. 

    4.  Inside of lockers will still be allowed to be decorated (but by students only – without parental assistance).

    5.  We are requesting that parents provide beach towels for their child(ren).  These will be used for outdoor classroom activities and will help ensure a six-foot social distance.


    Archdiocese of Chicago/Office of Catholic Schools Update

    1.  Schools may opt to use transparent masks for select employees, assuming they meet certain criteria.

          2.  Schools may permit the use of “gaiters” (pull-up face coverings) as an alternative to masks, provided they have three layers of fabric and can remain over the mouth and nose at all times.

          3.  Masks may be moved aside for short sips of water from water bottles. In such cases, six feet need not be maintained.  This is based on the following guideline from the Office of Catholic Schools as follows:

    • Students and employees may bring refillable water bottles from home.  Water bottles should be kept closed when not in use.
    • Students and employees may take short sips of water by moving their mask aside.  Assuming the sip of water is short in duration (less than 10 seconds) individuals need not remove masks entirely or separate by six feet within their cohort (they should remain separated by at least three feet.)
    • If masks become wet due to drinking water, the mask should be immediately replaced.


    CJB’S weekly FAQ’s

    Following are questions submitted to CJB.  The questions are printed in black typeface.  The answers in bold typeface:

    1. We are seeking additional information on the virtual component of the e-learning program. What does the “virtual teaching program” consist of? For example, will the students participate in live CJB classes via Zoom?

    We are working on two different virtual learning plans.   One will be offered to those who are unable or not ready to return to in-person instruction, and the other is what we will resort to in the event that a cohort(s) or the entire school resorts to virtual learning.  

    The virtual learning plan for those who are unable or not ready to return is shared in this weekly update.


    1. What does the virtual component look like should Illinois return to Phase 3?

    We are still working on this, but it will include daily live instruction for all students.  


    1. How does a family apply for “e-learning” versus in person learning?

    Simply let Ms. Bourrell know that you want that option. Any family who chooses this route will be asked to commit for the entire trimester.  Deadline for choosing a virtual learning option is August 10, 2020 at 3 pm.  



    1. How will classroom social distancing be achieved with as many as 25 students in a classroom?

    The Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois State Board of Education and Office of Catholic School for the Archdiocese of Chicago requires students to be socially distanced “as much as possible” while in their classrooms.  CJB student desks are spaced roughly 3.5 to 5 feet apart, depending on the grade and homeroom.  We are looking into ways that we can take them into larger spaces that would ensure social distancing of 6 feet for lunch when their masks may be removed. 


    1. Classroom setup: will parents be able to see the room set up prior to the start of school?

    Yes, we will share photos of this in one of our future weekly updates.  


    1. Class assignments: Will class assignments move more to electronic submission to assist with less contact? For example, will 6th grade submit most assignments on Chromebooks versus on paper?

    This is to be determined.  


    1. Getting homework: We imagine there will be many “missed days” of school as parents take additional precautions. September is a challenging month in our home with allergy season. Given this, will there be changes with homework pick up. Will students have the opportunity to participate virtually if they are simply remaining at home due to “allergy symptoms?”

    Students will not be required to participate in virtual learning if they are home due to routine illnesses.   Daily homework will be provided as it has been in the past. 


    1. In the past teachers have had students assist in preparing and gathering a missing student’s work out of his or her locker. This may not be the best practice anymore given COVID-19.



    1. Locker: Will students still have access to lockers?



    1. Will one cohort at a time access lockers?

    Yes, and they will do so socially distanced. 


    1. Mass: Will the students still attend Mass on Tuesdays?

    Yes.  Roughly half of the school will attend in-person Mass every other week, those not attending will have it live-streamed to their classrooms.  We are working on ways to deliver the Eucharist to those students not in attendance. 


    1. Extended Day: How will cohorts be managed in Extended Day?

    Cohorts will remain intact for Extended Day.   We are hiring additional staff to accommodate this. 


    1. Will this population mix as prior years?



    1. Recess: Will the cohorts mix yet remain 6-feet apart?   

    Cohorts must remain 30 feet apart.  Students within a cohort must remain 6 feet apart in order to remove their masks. 


    1. Half day: Can half-day be offered for families interested in this?



    1. Cleaning: Will staff be disinfecting the school daily or will this be performed by a company?

    The school’s custodial staff will be performing increased cleaning. 


    1. The upper grades traditionally are divided into A/B groups for core subjects (Math, Science, LA, etc).  Is this how the cohorts will be determined?

    No.  Cohorts will have mixed ability levels within them.  Teachers will differentiate instruction to accommodate student needs. 


    1. Will the 7th grade remain at approximately 30 students per cohort? 

    We currently have 29 and 30 students in each 7th grade cohort.  This may change as families determine whether they will participate in in-person or virtual instruction. We are also working on how we can utilize larger spaces that will accommodate increased social distancing.  


    1. Will the Computer Lab/Library be closed this year?

    Yes, we cannot use communal items. 


    1. Can you share what the plan will be for remote learning?

    The virtual learning plan that will be used if a cohort or the entire school is forced to shut down is currently being worked on.  Look for more information on this in the upcoming weekly updates. 


    1. My primary questions regarding virtual learning are:  


    • Will it be synchronous/asynchronous, will each day be on a schedule or will students work independently?   `Students will be on a daily schedule that will include live instruction with their teachers


    • Will each grade function in a consistent format or will each teacher be able to decide how to best deliver the content?  All CJB students will use a consistent format either Zoom or Google Meets, this remains to be determined. 


    • What additional training will the teachers be receiving on best practices to teach remotely?  Our very own Penny Drown is trained in this area and is part of our Academic Planning Team.  She will assist in teaching best practices for teaching remotely.


    1. Why was nobody asked as to what they thought they may do as far as each family? Some families aren’t comfortable sending their kids to school considering all the rising Covid cases.


    UPDATE FOR JULY 24, 2020

    The Archdiocese of Chicago, Office of Catholic Schools reopening plan was developed over the course of several months with the guidance of a diversified team of contributors and various expert including an expansive sampling of 900 parents across the Archdiocese.

    The Archdiocese of Chicago School Reopening Plan is focused on safe, in-person instruction. 

    “The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the upcoming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present at school.”

     American Academy of Pediatrics-June 2020

    Based on the guidance of child healthcare experts, as well as the best models for academic instruction and learning development, the Archdiocese and Cardinal Joseph Bernardin School firmly believes that our students and our families are best served through full-week, in-person learning. Students thrive academically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually when physically present in school with their educators, classmates, and friends. Studies have shown that American students sustained significant learning loss during the COVID-19 shutdown.  While educators did a tremendous job of quickly adjusting their lesson plans to e-learning, we collectively recognize that online learning is not a substitute for in-class learning.  Our children deserve the best we can provide, which comes with the structure and consistency of daily, full-week, face-to-face instruction and the opportunity to learn and grow with their peers.  To this end, we have developed a safe and comprehensive reopening plan which provides for a five-day school week of in-person instruction using a cohort model that keeps children in consistent groups (cohorts) throughout their day. 


    Input into the Plan

     The School Reopening Plan was developed over the course of several months with the guidance of a diversified team of contributors and various expert inputs including: 

    • An expansive sampling of 900 parents across the Archdiocese 
    • A cross section of thoughtful principals from Cook and Lake Counties, inner-city and suburban schools • Archdiocese School Board members 
    • A panel of distinguished medical experts to review the plan and provide feedback based on their firsthand knowledge of our current medical environment.

    Our plan emphasizes the irreplaceable value of full-week, in-person instruction 

    School districts across the country are adopting various approaches – some moving forward with full-week, in-person instruction, others going strictly virtual, while others are opting for a hybrid of the two. While some are pursuing hybrid schedules in attempts to achieve greater classroom distancing, based on the expert evidence available we believe there is very little incremental benefit to a possible additional foot in social distancing over the multi-layer precautions inherent in our plan. In addition to the negative academic impact on students, hybrid schedules create more student downtime on their virtual days leading to increased socializing and activities, thus potentially broadening students’ exposure to germs. Conversely, a cohort model in which students are consistently with the same classmates allows us to limit the potential of any cross contamination and exposure throughout the entire school.

    Additional Reading Source 

    AAP (Academy of American Pediatrics) 

    COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Guidance for School Re-entry


    COVID-19 and student learning in the United States: The hurt could last a lifetime

    The Wall Street Journal The Case for Reopening Schools

    The New York Times

     Citing Educational Risks, Scientific Panel Urges That Schools Reopen Younger children in particular are ill-served by remote learning, according to a report issued by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine


     As we get closer to the beginning of our 2020/2021 school year, our faculty and staff are finalizing our school specific plans.   We will be sending out weekly updates to help our families understand and prepare for the changes that will accompany reopening. 

    We hope you use these weekly updates to answer your questions and concerns, and strongly encourage you to read through the updates carefully and contact CJB with any questions or concerns you may have.  

    Below you will find What you can expect this year at CJB:

    In-Person Instruction: Our plan allows us to welcome back all students Pk-8th for full-day in person instruction.  Pre-K3/AM will be in session Monday-Thursday.  The Archdiocese of Chicago, Office of Catholic Schools, will be providing a limited number of slots for remote learning.  CJB has made the decision to reserve those spots for families with a child who has a serious underlying medical condition, or for students who have a member of their immediate family who has a serious underlying medical condition. 

    Masks: All individuals over the age of two will be required to wear a mask throughout the school day. Masks will only be removed during designated activities (such as lunch and recess),and then only if students are able to maintain physical  distance. Social distance of at least six feet apart must be maintained in the moments when masks are not worn. Families will be asked to purchase at least two reusable masks for their children, with the expectation that masks will be washed after every school day. Students with disposable masks should discard them at the end of the school day, and parents should provide extras to replace a damaged or lost disposable mask. Masks with distracting messages or images will not be allowed. All students and employees will receive training on proper mask-wearing. 

    Temperature/Well-being Checks: Prior to exiting their cars during morning drop off, students will have their temperature taken by a CJB staff member, and parents/guardians will be asked to confirm that their child is free from illness. Once students have entered the building, they will be immediately provided with hand sanitizer. 

    Building Traffic/Drop Off/Pick-up: Students in grades PK-1 will enter/exit through O’Mara Hall., students in grades 2-6 will enter/exit through the main entrance, and students in grades 7-8 will enter/exit  through the church doors.  Additionally, students in each group(unit) will be given walking routes throughout the building. Signage and tape on the floors will be used to assist clarity in traffic flow. 

    Cohort Model: Students will be assigned to a “cohort,” which will correspond to their homeroom class and will remain with those same classmates throughout the day. Students within a cohort will still have their masks on (except for designated activities such as lunch and recess), and will remain physically as far as possible to prevent the spread of illness. Teachers will be encouraged, weather permitting, to take students outside for instruction and for “brain breaks.” 

    Facility Cleaning, Hygiene and Shared School Supplies: CJB will follow aggressive cleaning and disinfecting procedures.  Sharing of school supplies such as pencils, markers, and art supplies will not be permitted. Equipment that must be shared will be used by as few children as possible and cleaned and disinfected before and after each use. All CJB students will be provided access to handwashing facilities and hand sanitizer in school. Food and drink should never be shared (including student snacks, lunches, and birthday treats). Drinking fountains will not be in use. CJB is installing an additional filtered water fountain that students will be allowed to refill reusable water bottles.

    Infection Protocols: Our plan provides for clear guidance on how to address individuals with COVID-19 symptoms and/or positive COVID-19 results.   Students suffering with COVID-19 symptoms and/or positive COVID-19 tests will be expected to quarantine and will be required to have permission from a medical doctor to return to school.  Families will be notified if/when a child is determined by a medical professional to have COVID-19.  An individual Cohort will resort to remote learning if 2 or more students within their cohorts are deemed to have COVID-19 by a medical doctor and under the instruction from the Office of Catholic Schools.  School wide shut down will occur if the governor of Illinois requires it, if multiple cohorts experience outbreaks, or the Office of Catholic Schools determines it is necessary. 

    Lunch: Lunch will, in most cases, be held in classrooms to prevent cohorts from intermingling in the cafeteria. Only members of the same cohort will be allowed to sit near each other, and will be required to social distance as much as possible.

    Recess: When recess is outside, masks may be removed and stored in paper bags if social distancing is maintained. 

    Visitors and Volunteers: Visitors to school buildings will be limited as much as possible.  This means events such as “Grandparents Day,” which attracts visitors, may be cancelled or postponed. Access for parents who must come to school may be limited to the main office.  The use of volunteers will be limited as well. 

    Special Events: Large group gatherings, such as assemblies will be cancelled or conducted virtually.  If events are held, social distancing must be observed and group size limited to the extent possible. Field trips will not be permitted during the pandemic.

    We are confident our plan provides the necessary platform to deliver superior, faith-based education in a safe manner. As we navigate this uncharted territory, we are committed to continuing our dialogue with our school families. We acknowledge the situation is fluid. Communication will be key. Should conditions change significantly, we will be in touch communicating any necessary modifications to the plan. Please be sure to thoroughly read the weekly updates sent out via School Reach and posted on our school website.