Schools Re-opening: ‘First Step in a Return to Normalcy’

BRIDGEPORT—As thousands of Catholic elementary and high school students across the diocese prepare to return to in-person classes in early September, Dr. Steven Cheeseman, Superintendent of Schools, has issued a new video providing an overview of the extraordinary steps taken for a safe and measured re-opening during the pandemic.

‘I hope you are all excited to finally get new school year underway, and God willing this will be the first step in our return to a sense of normalcy,” he said from his office at the Catholic Center.

Dr. Cheeseman said that the main concern shared by members of his leadership team and administrators faculty and parents throughout the system “is the safe return of over 6,500 students to our diocesan schools.”

After months of planning and preparation throughout the school system, Dr. Cheeseman said the schools are ready to move ahead with in-person classes but also have distance learning options and are prepared for hybrid plans if that become necessary.

The full re-opening plan for diocesan elementary and high schools is available online:

As both a superintendent and a parent, Dr. Cheeseman said he approaches the school year with a sense of uneasiness even as he is looks forward to the opening of classes.

Although the intense and comprehensive planning by the diocese has become a model for other school systems, Dr. Cheeseman said he still loses sleep at night because of uncertainty about the pandemic.

“No matter what we do, we can’t be perfect. We can’t answer every question because we don’t know what the future holds.”

However, he feels the schools are ready after “a tremendous amount of preparation and planning and the amazing work of principals” to implement the safety protocols.

In the past couple of weeks Dr. Cheeseman has visited every school to ensure compliance, to share best practices and to run through every possible scenario” related to the re-opening and ongoing challenges.

Dr. Cheeseman asked for prayers for all of the students, faculty and school communities in the coming weeks. “This will be a year like no other, but we can face it together and make the best of it.”

The superintendent’s office has created a Covid-19 hotline and email address to answer any questions that parents have. The schools office has also released a list of Frequently Asked Questions (English | Español) that offer detailed information on a variety of topics.