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Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston to release plans for school instruction

WHEELING — Families with children in Catholic schools in West Virginia this week will receive school reopening plans that outline a five-day-a-week physically present strategy, the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston announced on Monday.

“Principals from all 24 Catholic schools across the state have worked closely with their local health departments, school communities and my office to develop plans to allow for the reopening of schools that meet local, state and federal guidelines,” Catholic Schools Superintendent Mary Ann Deschaine said.

Deschaine cited the American Academy of Pediatrics that supports students returning to the school building. A recently released statement from the academy notes “All policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”

“This is completely in line with our position,” Deschaine said. “Because we are Christ-centered, every choice we make, and plans we develop are prayerfully made with our students’ success and well-being in mind. We are a strong Christian family guided by our faith. Our learning environment will always focus on the social, emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental well-being of each child.”

While these are unwanted and unpredictable times, the challenges in the world today provide a great opportunity to teach huge and powerful life lessons for children, she said.

“What has always been our routine focus in Catholic schools, academics, responsibility, accountability, citizenship and empathy, is now being taken to a heightened level,” she said.

Last spring, schools across the Diocese displayed how well they react to the upheaval of academic, social and physical plans.

“I know without a doubt that our principals, staff and teachers performed outstanding,” she said. “Our families saw that, and our students will always remember how they continued to be challenged academically, and moreover won’t forget how they felt knowing their teachers genuinely cared about their mindset.”

As with each phase of the pandemic, recommendations will be subject to change with little notice. Therefore, administrative staff will continue to monitor local conditions, in consultation with the appropriate county health support systems.

Any additional details or changes will be directly given to all families by the administration of their respective school. Individual building plans may slightly vary from school to school based on regional guidance.

“We will constantly be re-evaluating the health and safety measures in our buildings,” Deschaine said. “We will also be able to turn on a dime and adapt to a remote learning environmentif we must. No matter what the circumstance, weather, building issue or health and safety concern, our Catholic schools will continue to learn, lead and succeed. We are well equipped and prepared.”

For more information about Catholic schools in West Virginia, contact the office of Catholic Schools at 304-233-0880, or for a list of schools including contact information visit: https://wvcatholicschools.org.

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