A South Side Catholic school is temporarily reversing
course on its plan to conduct in-person instruction after four students tested
positive for coronavirus.
Students had returned to classrooms at St. Rita
of Cascia school on Chicago’s South Side last week, but they will now head back
home for at least two weeks of remote learning after at least four cases of coronavirus
were diagnosed within the school community.
Parents at the school received an email
Thursday saying that two students had tested positive for the virus, and that
the school would be switching back to a remote learning program.
St. Rita will use remote learning plans until
Sept. 4, then will resume a hybrid plan that involves in-person instruction
beginning the following Tuesday.
Even though parents say they weren’t surprised
by positive tests, they were very pleased with how quickly school officials
“I wasn’t too surprised,” Dr. Lydia Falbo, a
parent at the school, said. “I’m really happy with the way St. Rita is handling
the situation. They’ve been so communicative, and I’m really happy my son is a
After the initial two positive tests, school
President Dr. James Quaid told NBC 5 that two more cases were confirmed on
Friday. He says that the school’s decision to quickly switch to remote learning
was made in an attempt to minimize the impact of the situation, and to prevent
further spread of the virus.
Even with the abrupt change in plans, many
parents at the school are pleased with the institution’s actions.
“I’m really happy that they tried to start and
to at least get kids on campus for a couple of days,” Falbo said.
Guiseppe Falbo, Lydia Falbo’s son, says he’s
happy that he was able to start the school year in person, and is looking
forward to getting back into the classroom.
According to the Falbo’s, students wore masks
at all times, and sat in desks that were at least six feet apart from one another.
Temperature checks were also conducted upon entering the school building, and
hallway traffic was modified to allow for social distancing and to prevent
“Going back and having precautions was very
different,” Falbo said.
School officials and parents are hopeful that
their school’s learning plan, and quick and decisive action when needed, will
be the model for other schools moving forward, as many other Catholic schools
are preparing to begin classes in the coming days.
“Administrators and staff are working so hard
for kids, and they really want this to work,” Dr. Falbo said. “So please be
flexible….and understand that things are going to happen. Just take things day