Ed Offices Releases School Plans for COVID-19
Rockford Diocese schools, RE will return to all in-person this fall
July 22, 2021
DIOCESE—The Diocese of Rockford will be using Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) guidelines for schools this fall.
 
The ISBE adopted the July 7 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for returning to school.
 
Beginning with the start of the fall 2021 school year and religious education program, all grades and family catechesis will return to in-person learning with a normal schedule.  
 
CDC sets school attendance standards
 
The following is a summary provided by the diocesan Office of Education regarding the information included in the new CDC guidelines:   
 
 Students benefit from in-person learning, and safely returning to in-person instruction in the fall 2021 is a priority. 
 
 Masks should be worn indoors by all individuals, age 2 and older, who are not fully vaccinated. 
   Consistent and correct mask use by people who are not fully vaccinated is especially important indoors and in crowded settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained. 
   Fully vaccinated is two weeks after receiving the second dose of a two-dose vaccine, and two weeks after receiving a one-dose vaccine.   
 
 CDC recommends schools maintain at least three feet of physical distance between students within classrooms, combined with indoor mask-wearing by people who are not fully vaccinated, to reduce transmission risk. 
   When it is not possible to maintain a physical distance of at least three feet, such as when schools cannot fully re-open while maintaining these distances, it is especially important to layer multiple other prevention strategies, such as indoor masking. 
 
 Students, teachers, and staff should stay home when they have signs of any infectious illness and be referred to their healthcare provider for testing and care. 
 
 Localities should monitor community transmission and occurrence of outbreaks to guide each school.  
 
 Masking is required of all passengers and drivers on buses and other transportation used for a school-related activity.  
The Catholic Education Office has CDC guidelines (see box) immediately for diocecsan schools and religious education programs.  
 
Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear masks. 
 
Parents individually determine whether they and their child will wear a mask while attending school or religious education gatherings. 
 
Schools and religious education programs will adhere to social distancing of three feet, handwashing, cleaning and disinfecting, and, where appropriate, quarantining, as has been the procedure since March of 2020.  
 
Temperature screening is not required. 
 
The Catholic Education Office will continue to monitor the COVID-19 positivity rate in each of the diocese’s 11 counties. It will work with school administrators, religious education leaders, and local county health departments to evaluate school and religious education program COVID-19 protocols.  
 
Schools and religious education programs will attempt to provide distance learning for students or families who are under quarantine consistent with CDC guidance or requirements from a local public health department or the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).   
 
Diocesan Catholic schools and religious education programs will follow this plan unless the CDC, the IDPH, a local county health department, and/or the ISBE directs them otherwise. 
 
The Catholic Education Office may also decide to modify this plan, as it deems necessary, in the event of a specific outbreak, or other factor.   
 
At this time, no one will be asked about his or her vaccination status or to document that status. 
 
“The cooperation and good will of all is presumed in this matter,” said the letter issued July 15 by Vito DeFrisco, director of Education Services and superintendent of diocesan schools, and John Jelinek, director of Religious Education and Formation.
 
“The success of Catholic schools and our religious education programs depends on the partnership between the families we serve and our school and parish,” the letter concluded.
 
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