By ROB HERBST
The Catholic Week
MOBILE — Archdiocese of Mobile Catholic Schools will open as scheduled on Aug. 12 and several steps focused on the welfare of children will be enacted.
Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi made the announcement in a video message published June 26. Archdiocese of Mobile Catholic Schools students completed the final two months of the 2019-20 school year via “distance learning” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Archbishop Rodi said each school will implement its own specific plan in order, with the priority being the welfare of young people.
“Welfare in two particular ways,” Archbishop Rodi said. “First, that the welfare of the students’ health is protected. Second, that we continue the education and formation of our young people in the outstanding fashion for which Catholic Schools are deservedly known.”
While each school will have its own plan, steps will be taken at each school.
According to Archbishop Rodi:
*Schools will limit interpersonal contact to the extent that is feasible and practical.
*Every student and every employee upon arrival at the school will have their temperature taken. Anyone who has a fever greater than 100.4 degrees will not be allowed to enter the school.
*All schools will have enhanced cleaning procedures and sanitizer will be readily available throughout the school.
*Traditional recess will be discontinued and other activities will be developed to take the place of recess.
*Students will eat lunch in their classrooms.
*With the exception of pre-K students, everyone will wear a mask while at school.
*School activities and other extracurricular activities will continue but will be conducted in a manner that is appropriate in dealing with COVID-19.
While schools will reopen, Archbishop Rodi acknowledged there is risk involved. To date, Alabama has more than 30,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
“We are all aware that the number of Coronavirus cases in the state of Alabama is increasing substantially,” Archbishop Rodi said in the video. “There is a risk in students returning to school.”
Archbishop Rodi encouraged anyone who is concerned to contact their school.
“If any parent or family has concerns about their student returning to the classroom at this time and would prefer their student not to return at this time, they should contact their principal as soon as possible to develop an alternative,” Archbishop Rodi said.
Archbishop Rodi also said cooperation will be needed to make this school year as smooth as possible.
“I want to thank our parents and our families for entrusting your student to our Catholic Schools. We consider that a sacred trust and I ask for your cooperation. Please if your son or daughter is showing any signs of symptoms or of sickness … please do not send your son or daughter to school.
“In everything, I ask for your cooperation with your principals this year so we can maintain the safety – not only of your son or daughter – but of students in the school and our outstanding faculty.”
By ROB HERBST