Diocese Releases Schools Re-Opening Plan

BRIDGEPORT– Dr. Steven Cheeseman, Superintendent of Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Bridgeport, issued the Re-Opening Plan to parents, students, faculty on Thursday July 9.

“As we look toward the 2020 – 2021 school year, we face obvious challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Re-Opening document contains some of the guidelines that we will follow so that, working together, we can meet those challenges,” said Dr. Cheeseman.

“As we wait with great anticipation to see how this pandemic will play itself out over the next few months, we are left with many unanswered questions. What is abundantly clear, however, is that our students need to return to the classroom in the fall.“

The theme of the plan is “We Face it together,” and the document focuses on faith, Academic, Community, and Empowerment. It covers a wide range of topics related to returning to school including the use of face coverings, physical distancing, sudden closures if necessary, temporary home instruction, and resources for students, parents, faculty and staff.

In addition to the printed plan, which can be downloaded online, the Superintendent also sent a video message to parents and members of the school community.

“We appreciate your patience as we worked diligently to finalize this document. These guidelines were created with every student, parent, faculty and staff member in mind. It is expected that these guidelines will need to adjust as time goes by and conditions change,” he said, of the 14-page document.

Dr. Cheeseman said the plan recognizes the need for students to attend school in-person to the degree that health conditions allow.

“As such, we have developed plans to increase the safety of everyone in our schools by changing how we use our space and implementing new practices that allow for personalized learning during times of pandemic,” he said.

Every Catholic school within the diocese has considered the new guidelines and will be expected to implement them based on feasibility, limitations of their setting, and student and teacher needs, he said.

In May, we created a preschool and a k-12 task force group of school and diocesan teachers and leaders who, informed by parent and teacher focus groups and interviews, have created a plan to ensure that our schools are prepared to welcome students back in the fall.

The task force had as its primary focus the safe return of students to a full five-day schedule of in-person instruction, while also planning for the possibility of having to make a fluid transition to a more robust distance learning plan. Additionally, the groups worked on the creation of a hybrid model for students who either can not immediately return to school in the fall or who may have to learn at home temporarily at some point in the year.

Dr. Cheeseman said the schools office will modify as necessary and as it is updated, the new version will be posted on the schools website.