Catholic Schools Superintendent Offers Families Words of Commitment in Time of Uncertainty

By Colleen Rowan
WEST VIRGINIA—Superintendent of Catholic Schools Mary Ann Deschaine offered words of commitment in this time of uncertainty.
“Your children, our teachers, support staff, and volunteers are our utmost priority,” she said in a March 16 letter to Catholic school families. “We are one big family.”
To keep them safe and to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, Bishop Mark Brennan announced March 13 that all of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston’s Catholic schools are closed until further notice.
Although students are home, education will go on.
“Our principals and teachers have collaborated and will continue to do so on creative ways to teach remotely,” Deschaine says in her letter. “For schools with the proper capabilities online/cyber days will begin as per the principal’s direction. Schools without that technology in place, our teachers have developed ‘blizzard packets’ to keep students working and active within their subject areas.”
The packets contain hard copy assignments for students in the event of closure due to inclement weather. On their last day of school in school buildings March 13, students left with “blizzard packets” with assignments for up to three weeks or more.
In her letter, Deschaine assured families that decisions have been made and will continue with the clear focus to keep the Catholic school community safe.
“Our diocesan school principals and I have been working diligently to best prepare for the COVID-19 situation,” she says in the letter. “Your patience and understanding are appreciated, as we continue to receive information and make decisions. We will relay information and updates to you as soon as possible.”
Deschaine noted that families’ first source for information will be from their principal and school. She encouraged them to continue to frequently monitor their routine platform of communication, whether that be email, school website, social media, messaging apps, pre-recorded voice messages calls, etc.
“Our school administrators and the Department of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston will continue to work together to best serve our students, teachers, and families,” Deschaine said. “It is my hope we all take this time to grow in our relationship with Christ, strengthening our hope, trust, and compassion.”