Catholic schools announce changes during emergency closures

By Jeff Kurowski | The Compass | March 17, 2020

ALLOUEZ — CatholicLink partners Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE), Notre Dame Academy and St. Norbert College all released preventative measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The GRACE school system initially announced the transition to alternate learning platforms for at least two weeks beginning, March 16. On March 14, GRACE extended the transition to home-based, alternative learning platforms for at least one additional week. The extension followed the direction of orders from Gov. Tony Evers and Andrea Palm, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, to close all private and public schools in Wisconsin through at least Friday, April 3.

Lessons for GRACE students in kindergarten through third grade were scheduled to be shared by teachers to parents on Wednesday, March 18. Lessons for students in grades 4-8 were scheduled to be implemented using an online platform on that date.

All school activities, including field trips, sporting events, and concerts were postponed until further notice.

For information and updates about GRACE schools, visit gracesystem.org/coronavirus.

According to Todd Blahnik, diocesan superintendent of Catholic schools, each school/system is coordinating its own program during the school closures. “The Office of Catholic Schools is providing a repository for shared resources and is assisting by facilitating virtual meetings for school leaders to brainstorm,” he said.

Notre Dame Academy students were instructed not to report to class on Monday, March 16. Times were scheduled alphabetically for book pickup. Online learning days began on Tuesday, March 17. The school is following its regular classroom schedule. Students and teachers were expected to be online during regularly scheduled class times. The school day will continue to run from 8 a.m. to 3:18 p.m.

All athletic events/practices and extracurricular activities were suspended. Coaches and student athletes are not allowed to gather in groups for workouts. Support services will be available to students. Counselors have office hours from 9 to 10 a.m. and 1 to 2 p.m. daily on Google Hangout. According to a release on the Notre Dame Academy website, school counselors will also send grade-level emails to students about stress reduction and healthy practices.

Email messages will be sent every other day during the week to keep Notre Dame Academy students and parents informed. For more information, visit notredameacademy.com/coronavirus-information.

St. Norbert College continues to provide updates at snc.edu/health/coronavirus.html. On Sunday, March 15, the college announced that all athletics were canceled for the remainder of the semester.

All events of 50 or more people scheduled for the time period of March 13 to April 13 are canceled or rescheduled. A decision about events after April 13 has yet to be made.

On Wednesday, March 11, the college announced the move to alternative delivery modes for course instruction, Monday, March 23, through Monday, April 13. This period may be extended.

Spring break for St. Norbert College is March 16-20. All study-abroad students were recalled and will be home by March 30. Study-abroad fees will be refunded by the college.

Some students received permission to remain on campus. Ruth’s Marketplace will be open for students who have permission to remain on campus. The Mulva Family Fitness and Sports Center is closed.

Sr. Laura Zelten, Catholic Campus Ministry director at UW-Green Bay, said the campus ministry is following the same procedures as the university. She and students will utilize social media and other online outlets to continue their programs. “I’m also in contact with the Catholic Campus Ministry Association and they are looking at how to help with ministry needs,” she said.

Sr. Laura said that a spring break mission trip to Key West, Fla., she was leading with six students beginning March 13 was cancelled. The trip to the Basilica of St. Mary, Star of the Sea, included service work at Star of the Sea Food Pantry.

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