Catholic Schools Survive and Thrive Despite COVID
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
January 21, 2021
DIOCESE—Catholic schools in the Diocese of Rockford, like all other organizations and individuals, were challenged by the ongoing global pandemic.
Everyone from the students to the administration had to find new routines and adapt to new ways of giving and getting a quality education grounded in faith.
And it wasn’t always easy. The economic challenges faced by families and parishes took a toll on some schools. Two casualties were St. James Elementary school in Belvidere and St. Peter Elementary in South Beloit. Both schools completed their final year of operation in 2020. 
But the remaining 38 Catholic elementary schools and six diocesan high schools found ways not only to survive all the interruptions and cancellations, but also to thrive and be innovative. 
How the schools got through the pandemic required a lot of communication and coordination between school staffs and administration and between the schools and the diocesan Office for Catholic Education. 
In some ways, all the teachers and administrators worked harder than they ever had to keep the quality and consistency of the learning process happening.
“I am extremely proud of the extraordinary work that our Catholic schools and Catholic school leaders have accomplished over the past 10 months,” said Michael Kagan, superintendent of diocesan Catholic schools.
“The success that they have had during this horrible pandemic is a testament to the strong faith communities that exist throughout our diocese,” he added. 
“I am confident that our educators have learned skills that will help make our schools even more effective bastions of learning and messengers of the Gospel in the 21st Century.”
“Many things contributed to our Catholic schools’ success during this challenging period, and, of course, we can say it is because of our continuously solid academic program, staff, and parent commitment to teaching and learning,” said Vito DeFrisco, assistant superintendent of Catholic schools.
“However, Catholic schools have been successful over the years because our schools know how to follow the rules,” he added. 
“Our success is truly evident in how our schools followed the prescribed CDC and IDPH protocols, which kept the COVID rates low in our school communities,” he said.
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