By Colleen Rowan
WEST VIRGINIA—Students of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston’s Catholic schools will have five-days a week, in-school instruction this year thanks to the efforts of administrators, teachers, and staff, Catholic Schools Superintendent Mary Ann Deschaine said. She also thanked school families for their continuing support through the pandemic and always.
Deschaine sentiments were expressed in two letters, the first to the adminsitrators, teachers and staff who have worked to make Catholic schools operational amid the coronavirus pandemic. She commended them for their efforts in a letter on the eve of the start of the 2020-2021 school year. In it, she expressed her appreciation to them for answering the call to serve Catholic school children, all they have done, and will be doing in the months ahead.
“You are the individuals who have to take temperatures at the door, make sure masks are worn properly, and stand guard for your school family against an invisible invader we call COVID-19,” she says in the letter. “I thank you for having that loving and compassionate character.”
They will be called upon, she said, to arrive early and stay late to adjust, and disinfect surroundings sacrificing time with families.
“I thank you for that generous spirit,” she says in the letter. “You have to be so flexible to turn your classroom into an inspiring virtual learning environment at a moment’s notice with a smile on your face in these unwanted times. I thank you for that graceful adaptability.”
Each of the diocese’s six high schools and 18 elementary and grade schools have filed reopening plans which have been approved by the respective county health officials after consultation with the Center of Disease Control (CDC), and the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) offices. Plans were communicated to school families early last month. These plans, Deschaine said, have changed and have been adjusted over the past months and would not have been completed without the hard work of administration, teachers, and staff.
Policies, plans, and practices have been prepared to provide protection for everyone in school buildings and are subject to change as needed, Deschaine said. Reopening plans include a variety of actions and changes in day to day operations including new desk arrangements, hallway flow patterns, lunch protocols and strict extra-curricular. Some measures may not be popular, Deschaine said, but they must be followed to minimize the spread of this virus. She expressed her gratitude to administrators, teachers, and staff for leadership through their actions in this pandemic.
“Thank you for completely understanding what the ‘new normal’ is in our schools and reinforcing that to our families. I appreciate you accepting the role of a positive ambassador,” she said.
“So now, just as we are about to give our students a new set of responsibility, challenges, and accountability, thank you for accepting the same,” she said. “Our students will follow your lead.”
In her letter to school families Aug. 31, Deschaine thanked them for their “faithful support and dedication to our Catholic schools.”
She asked families to be familiar with their school’s procedures and protocols and to review them with their children. She also said in the letter that working together is important in the return to school.
“We’ve demonstrated that we can do great things when we work together,” she said.
For more information about the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston’s Catholic schools, visit: https://wvcatholic schools.org
Superintendent Commends Catholic School Teachers and Staff, Thanks Families for Support
By Colleen Rowan