Schools moving to remote learning for two weeks after Christmas break

By Joyce Duriga | Editor
Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Juliette Schmitt takes notes during class. Students at Queen of the Rosary School in Elk Grove Village were making their way through the first week of school while following the Archdiocese of Chicago guidelines for COVID-19 on Aug. 17, 2020. Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic

For the first two weeks of classes following Christmas break, Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic schools will switch from in-person to remote learning to allow families traveling over the holidays to help prevent COVID-19 transmission. Remote learning will take place Jan. 4 through Jan. 19.

“We knew that people might travel during the holiday season and obviously when people do travel, particularly to states that are defined as COVID hot spot states, there is the potential that they would get sick and bring it back in,” said Jim Rigg, superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Chicago. “At the same time, we recognize that people want to travel and that it is going to be very difficult to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas without seeing loved ones.”

Anticipating the need to accommodate holiday travel, the Office for Catholic Schools formed a small committee of parents, teachers, priests, principals and others to make recommendations on how to handle the holiday season.

The committee recommended that schools move to virtual learning for the two weeks after Christmas break.

Both Rigg and Cardinal Cupich approved the recommendations.

The office began disseminating information about the plan to parents in mid-October.

The Office for Catholic Schools and the archdiocese continually monitor COVID-19 infection rates and protocols and are aware that the plan may have to be altered.

“It may be given current increases in the general infection rate that we have to change plans and perhaps look at all virtual learning in December, but right now this is our plan,” Rigg said.

Schools also have the option of offering in-school care services during the two weeks in January for families who are first responders or single working parents who are not able to be home with the children during that time.

The students would do virtual learning at the school buildings and would be supervised by staff. 

“We did feel that was an important part of our announcement to make sure that we accommodate families in that situation,” Rigg said.

So far, in-person learning has been going well, he said.

“In spite of the seriousness about the pandemic, we feel very good about how things are going in our Catholic schools. Our students, and parents and employees seem to have done a very good job of understanding and implementing the health and safety protocols of our plan,” Rigg said. Other than a handful of cases, all infections have been traced to activities outside of school, such as sports and dance.


  • catholic schools
  • covid-19

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