On Monday we will begin our celebration of Catholic Schools Week and the theme couldn’t be more fitting: “Blessed to be Here”. Over the past six months, this simple phrase has been stated countless times and the “knowing” of it can be observed in the actions of our administration, faculty, staff, and students, daily. Knowing the attributes of our school community and the challenges we faced, allowed us to devise a plan for reopening and with confidence state that we could safely educate our children in-person.
While some may have observed our remaining open to be reckless, given the continued substantial community spread of coronavirus infection, by diligently implementing the actions stated in our plan, we have provided evidence to the contrary. To date, we have had a 0.78% positivity rate for COVID within our school setting (AZ DHS states <5% positivity indicates minimal transmission) and because those identified as “close contacts” of COVID positive cases have been compliant with quarantines, we have had no cases of school based transmission. On Wednesday, many media outlets lead with reports that schools could safely reopen during this ongoing pandemic. This was in response to an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, where the CDC stated that “the type of rapid spread that was frequently observed in congregate living facilities or high-density worksites has not been reported in education settings in schools." (JAMA Network - January 26, 2021). More detailed aspects of the report were published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, COVID-19 Cases and Transmission in 17 K-12 Schools. An almost immediate endorsement came from Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID Director and a leading public health expert, who stated “I would back the CDC recommendations because that is really based on data… we need to try and get the children back to school...”
In August, we recognized that being back to school at OLMC means so much more than simply occupying a seat in the classroom. Being present on campus allows each person to more fully participate in those things that make our community unique. The Works of Mercy, and the continued assistance provided to organizations like I-Help and St. Vincent de Paul, demonstrate that though we know we are “Blessed to be Here”, we have not forgotten about those who are “there”. Please continue to practice the infection control procedures outlined in our “Smart, Healthy & Holy”plan so that we can celebrate our Catholic school, not just for a week, but for the remainder of the school year! “Without confidence and love there can be no true education” (St. John Bosco - January 31).BACK TO LIST