CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WILL CONTINUE DISTANCE LEARNING UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE AMID COVID-19 PANDEMIC
—In a video message Archbishop Gomez expresses his gratitude to teachers and praises their dedication as they cope with changes during this challenging time—
In a letter to Catholic School families, faculty and staff, Paul M. Escala, Senior Director and Superintendent of Schools of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which serves over 73,000 students in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, announced that distance learning at catholic schools would be extended until further notice, following guidance from public health authorities and civic leaders. The Archdiocese had previously announced Catholic School closures with distance learning through April 20.
“In Light of the evolving messages we are receiving from civic leaders, I want to provide you with an update from the Archdiocese about the status of our school year,” wrote Escala in the letter. “From the start of this crisis, we have followed guidance from county public health officials to determine when we can resume on-campus instruction – this remains the case. Based on the current ‘Safer at Home’ order, we anticipated a return to campus on Monday, April 20th. After consultation with public health officials this week, we expect this order to be extended again, though, we have not been given a date. Instead, we’ve been advised to communicate that a return to in-person instruction will resume when it is safe to do so.”
“We must acknowledge the reality of this public health emergency. We do not know if we will return to campus before the end of the school year and preparing for this reality is now essential. While it remains our hope to return to campus as soon as possible, the health and safety of our students and educators is our top priority. We will continue to support our school communities during this time and ask for your continued support as we work together to end this crisis,” explained Escala in his letter. Attached is the letter from Mr. Escala.
In a video message, Archbishop José H. Gomez expressed his gratitude to all Catholic School teachers and encouraged them to continue their ministries in face of the challenging times while they also stay at home taking care of their own children.
“I’m very grateful to all of you as you continue your ministry in the schools,” said Archbishop Gomez. “It’s probably a totally different experience because you are home and you may be with your children and it’s difficult to spend the time and concentrate to be able to provide this extraordinary help to so many students in our Catholic Schools. So I hope that you have the presence of God in your lives and also the strength to be able to continue your ministry with generosity and joy, knowing that the children in our Catholic Schools are so happy to be able to communicate with you and to continue their learning in our Catholic Schools.”
The Department of Catholic Schools has been working closely with principals to ensure that schools maintain the learning process by providing resources for online and distance learning.
“At St. Catherine of Siena, we have been using iPads for over a year and a half. Our students were already using their iPads to enhance their learning experience, so the transition to online learning was very smooth,” said Lilia Rivas, principal of St. Catherine of Siena School in Reseda. “Our teachers have been incredibly creative during this time and their commitment is admirable. I am really appreciative of the support we have received from our school parents. Our campus may be closed, but our school is open and thriving in our homes.”
Some students have been inspired by their teachers to use their extra time and their talents to serve the community at large, such as Olivia Kelleher, a junior at Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, who has been giving away masks that she makes at home.
“I had a doctor’s appointment and my doctor shared with me all the needs that they have for items. That made me think about all of those that are working so hard to help us to stay healthy, so I wanted to do something to help them,” said student Olivia Kelleher. “I also thought about this because my friend told me about his little brother and how he still needs to go to his appointments because he has down syndrome, and I wanted to provide them something to protect themselves. I have made more than 1,000 masks.”
“I really enjoy distance learning because our teachers are there to help us and they are keeping our schedule and daily routine the same, so it helps us to continue with our education. I love Bishop Montgomery High School’s community, and I am thankful for all the effort and support they are giving the students,” added Kelleher.
“It’s been positive to engage with tools of technology with my students, and everyone has shown great adaptability to the challenges we currently face,” said Todd Butler, a 9thand 10th grade Science teacher at St. Pius-St. Matthias Academy in Gardena. “However, the one thing I’ve learned is that nothing can replace that face to face dimension and relationship that a teacher must have with his students. I miss the connectivity on a personal level.”
Established more than 170 years ago, Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles are the largest provider of faith-based education in the nation, serving over 73,000students. Statewide, Catholic schools save California more than $2 billion in educational funding each year. To learn more on Catholic Education visit lacatholicschools.org andfollow instagram.com/catholicedla and facebook.com/catholicedla.
For updates on Archdiocese’s efforts to help prevent Covid-19, visit https://lacatholics.org/emergency/
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is the largest and most diverse Catholic Archdiocese in the United States with approximately five million Catholics, serving the three counties of Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara. Due to gathering and social distancing restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Holy Mass is being livestreamed from the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angles on the LA Catholics Facebook page and https://lacatholics.org/mass-for-the-homebound/. Masses are streamed live Monday through Friday at 7 a.m. in Spanish and 8 a.m. in English; and Sunday at 7 a.m. in Spanish and 10 a.m. in English. Latest video footage and photographs are available on Archdiocese social channels @lacatholics on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and through AngelusNews.com (credit: Angelus News). For the latest news, events and to subscribe for media alerts visitmedia.la-archdiocese.org.