Bishop Richard F. Stika and Dr. Sedonna Prater, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Knoxville, have announced a return to on-site learning at all 10 Catholic schools in the diocese for the 2020-21 academic year, which will begin on Monday, Aug. 3.
“We’re excited to begin our school year and open our classrooms to students and faculty,” Bishop Stika said. “Catholic schools and faith-based education offer families a unique environment to grow academically and spiritually. Our school leaders have worked hard to make sure that the learning environment is also safe for everyone who attends,” Bishop Stika added.
The plan includes an option for families to elect on-line, at-home learning with the flexibility to change to traditional classroom learning for their children at any time during the fall semester.
“We have worked with families to help develop this plan,” Dr. Prater said. “Our parents are the first educators of their children, and we always work in partnership with them. Our school leaders and various task forces have worked diligently to develop operational plans that adhere to the scientific recommendations for the safest possible return of students and faculty to campus.”
The following procedures and protocols will be enforced for on-campus learning to mitigate the risk and optimize the return of students to classrooms:
· Infection-prevention education
· Hygiene and sanitation, including safe cleaning and disinfecting protocols at schools
· Adherence to physical and social distancing
· Facial coverings to be worn by students and faculty
· Outdoor classrooms when possible
· Suspension of off-campus field trips
· Extracurricular activities limited to students who attend classes on campus
These procedures and protocols are explained in detail in this document and will be reviewed every two weeks. School communities will be informed of any changes.
“The diocese believes that the optimum way to educate students is on site and in school,” Dr. Prater said.
“Our schools are about communion and community and are founded on the moral principle that all people are created by God with dignity and purpose,” she added. “This is why our re-entry plan asks that each of us make small sacrifices, such as social distancing and the wearing of protective facial coverings.”
The diocesan academic calendar for 2020-21 has been modified to include four at-home learning dates (Aug. 19, Sept. 16, Oct. 14, Nov. 11) and a week of at-home learning (Nov. 30-Dec. 4). Thanksgiving break will be Nov. 25-29. Christmas break will begin Dec. 7.
The spring semester will begin on Tuesday, Jan. 5.
The Diocese of Knoxville educates students to become Scholars, Leaders, and Saints at: Knoxville Catholic High School, Notre Dame High School in Chattanooga, St. Dominic School in Kingsport, St. Joseph School in Knoxville, St. John Neumann School in Farragut, Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in Chattanooga, St. Jude School in Chattanooga, St. Mary School in Johnson City, St. Mary School in Oak Ridge, and Sacred Heart Cathedral School in Knoxville.