Fall 2020 Updates and Plans

June 12, 2020

Dear SPC Families,

I pray this finds you all enjoying this gorgeous day. The teachers have wrapped up the school year, cleaned up their rooms, and departed for the summer! However, the building is anything but quiet as we work with maintenance to move rooms, inventory books, and see the exciting construction of our UGC lower level. As your minds turn toward keeping your children occupied this summer, my mind has made a swift turn to planning for our Fall reopening! My goal is to keep you informed to the best of my knowledge. My commitment to you all is to keep you informed as information becomes available even if I do not have all the answers. 

On Monday, June 8th, Cardinal Cupich announced that along with the Archdiocese Office of Catholic Schools and local school administrators, there is every expectation that our schools will be open in the fall. And that we will employ measures that keep the safety of your children a top priority. We are working with experts in this area, as well as state and local public health officials. Anyone returning to one of our school buildings can have confidence that we have taken every measure possible: enhanced regular cleaning and disinfecting of high contact areas, the use of plexiglass barriers in common spaces such as main offices, the availability of adequate supplies of sanitizer and PPE, and temperature checks on anyone showing symptoms.Please listen to his message here.

On Thursday, June 11th, I participated in the first webinar outlining the focus areas of the plan to reopen. While the plan is broken into five parts for administrators, I will address the primary issues of Academics and Health and Safety. The Archdiocese will be providing a more detailed and comprehensive plan in the upcoming weeks that will be used to guide our reopening.

Here are some of the considerations and possible protocols that are in development:


To keep the health and safety of all our children and faculty safe, the Archdiocese is planning for reopening using a "cohort" model. This model ensures that groups of students remain together during the school day. This may mean some of the following:

  • Students remain in the classroom, and specials teachers move around to the classrooms.
  • Cohorts may be defined by a particular grade or a specific classroom depending on forthcoming guidelines. For example, if Mrs. Rinaldi's kindergarten class is defined as a cohort, that class would not interact during the school day with other kindergarten classes or different cohorts. The definition of cohorts has not been defined yet and may differ based on grade levels. 
  • Cohorts at the upper grades may be defined as a single grade level; for example, 8th grade may be able to move around in different configurations. Until this is defined, we are holding off on sending out the elective choices for 7th and 8th grade.
  • When students are in class in their cohort, they may not need masks. However, masks would need to be worn traveling around the building. For example, if students went to P.E., they would put on their masks to travel to and from the gym. If grades 6-8 are allowed to travel to other classrooms, they would put a mask on traveling to different rooms.
  • If students in grades 6-8 are allowed to change rooms, all desks would be sanitized after each class period.  
  • Cohorts would have recess together and eat lunch in their classrooms. 
  • Students would not share school supplies
  • Dedicated doors for cohorts for arrival and dismissal (thankfully, we have MANY doors).
  • Bathrooms and all high-touch areas cleaned multiple times a day. (You may recall we started these protocols in February)


  • Creation of classroom management plans that address student learning and prioritize socialization and social-emotional needs.
  • Re-entry plans for the teaching of protocols on hygiene, social distancing, and arrival and dismissal plans.
  • Revision of Year Long Curriculum Maps to account for the teaching and assessments of content and standards. How do we catch up and recalibrate what needs to be taught?
  • A plan for continued remote learning if a family is not comfortable sending their child to school.


1. Reopening Teams 
Reopening teams are being formed this summer to plan for the fall. The teams will be comprised of faculty, parents, and staff, and will focus on implementing the Archdiocese plan as it relates to SPC's needs. These teams will meet once I have been given the protocols from the Archdiocese. The teams are as follows:

  • The Operations Team will focus on safety, hygiene, cleanliness, arrival dismissal, master schedule for students. 
  • The Academic Team will coordinate the instructional approach, possible e-learning needs, social-emotional learning, and supporting students. 

2. Communications to Stakeholders
Once specific logistics are designed, I will host a series of grade-level specific webinars to communicate and discuss the plan for St. Paul of the Cross School. I do not anticipate these happening before mid-July. 

3. Survey of Parents
Next week, please look for a survey to complete that will help guide the work for the reopening teams. This survey will be specific to SPC.

4. Collaboration with Faculty and Staff
This morning I met with all the faculty and staff on a Zoom call and shared the above information. I followed up with a survey so that our faculty can begin to envision what these guidelines may look like in their classroom as well as think about the support needed to make this happen at SPC. As I review the survey and read the comments, I can tell you that the "let's do this" attitude of our teachers is amazing; they are committed to making this work and having their students in classrooms again! They are eager to serve on committees and bring their creativity to the classroom. I am grateful for their partnership!

In closing, there are many logistics to be worked out. I do not have all the answers at the moment and I know more questions remain. I hope by sharing the idea of the cohort model with you, along with some of the considerations related to academics, health, and safety, you may share in my hope that we will be together again in the fall, even if it is not business as usual. I am confident that as we work in close collaboration with the Archdiocese, we will develop a comprehensive plan for reopening our school in the fall! Thank you for your attention to this lengthy letter. 


Dr. Erika Mickelburgh