Catholic Schools and the Response to COVID-19

By Dr. Daryl Hagan

Superintendent of Catholic Schools

Diocese of Evansville Catholic Schools will continue the schedule for extended-learning outside classrooms through completion of the 2019-2020 school year.

During his April 2 COVID-19 update, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, along with Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick, ordered all K-12 schools to remain closed to in-person instruction for the remainder of the academic year in response to the continuing spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Catholic school students will be provided four extended-learning days with one waiver day for teacher preparation each week through Friday, May 15, 2020. Catholic schools will continue to provide additional details regarding specifics for their students and families.

The reality of not returning to the school building for the remainder of the current school year has brought feelings of loss. Graduations, spring sports, music recitals, plays and end-of-the-year retreats are just a few of the activities that our students will not experience or will have as delayed, alternate experiences.

How can parents help their children cope?

  • Stay calm and offer reassurance that everything will be fine.
  • Be role models. Children will react to and follow your reactions. They learn from your example.
  • Focus on the positive. As schools find alternative ways to replace or replicate events and programs, point out the uniqueness of the efforts and the good that can come from them.
  • Take time to talk. Regardless of your child’s age and the feelings of loss regarding the end of the school year, find time to listen and talk with them.
  • Be honest and accurate. Correct misinformation and stay up-to-date on school communications. Keep information age-appropriate.
  • Keeping children’s concerns and their sense of loss in daily prayer is key both individually and as a family.

Adapted from the National Association of School Psychologist website

I want to acknowledge our school administrators for their incredible leadership during this time of crisis. Our presidents and principals are strong Catholic leaders who will guide us through this extraordinary time.

To our teachers, thank you for your efforts to redesign your lessons and become proficient in new platforms to deliver content. I know the stress it has brought to you, and the care and concern you have for your students.

To our parents, thank you for making the sacrifices to continue to support Catholic education. I recognize that this has been challenging for you as you transitioned to working from home (for some families) while juggling your child’s extended learning.

Finally, to our 7,000 Catholic school students, your teachers, staff members, principals and pastors miss you dearly. Thank you for your resilience. Thank you for helping your siblings and sometimes even your parents during this time. Continue to work hard. We all look forward to the day when we will all be back with you to hear your joyful laughter once again, and see your smiling faces.

Our Catholic school families and staff are unified and strong. For 75 years, the Catholic Diocese of Evansville has strived to live as a community of faith, hope and charity, rooted in Christ. The Coronavirus outbreak has not changed that for any of us.