Hello. I’m Frank O’Linn, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Cleveland, with a message for our Catholic school parents and community:
Today, Gov. Mike DeWine announced the extension of the initial closure of all schools, extending it to at least May 1 in order to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and remain socially distanced until it subsides. Catholic schools have always educated in partnership with parents, and these extraordinary times are no exception.
Our Catholic schools have employed a variety of methods to continue the formation in faith and academic education of young people at a distance. These methods vary according to the age of students and the means by which connections are available. We are also mindful that the extended closure of the buildings brings uncommon stressors on the home, especially for families balancing the demands of caregiving -- including for those who are ill or at higher risk -- with the challenges at the workplace, adapting to new conditions, or suffering painful losses through the crisis.
Our schools still educate in partnership with parents, and we are committed to providing support for young people’s faith formation and academic growth for as long as necessary through non-traditional means. Together in the Diocese of Cleveland -- and in collaboration with our colleagues across the state and nation -- our educators continue to learn, listen, adjust and deploy the best adaptations as we navigate our way through this crisis. Our leaders and educators are doing a remarkable job. It is no small task to shift from in-person to remote learning on an accelerated timeframe. And more than ever, our schools appreciate your partnership and your feedback as we strive to meet this new challenge together.
In this time of instability and distance, we are blessed to have community. While our schools will continue to be creative in supplying resources to sustain students’ learning and formation, they will also continue to connect supports to learners and families. Each school is reaching out locally as technology allows, from paper materials and phone calls to in-person, real-time video classes and everything in between. Settling in for a longer stretch, our Catholic educators are committed to maintaining the community that is central to our faith and the growth and development of our young people. Lifting one another up in prayer is a practice older than any of these technologies. This is how we sustain our goals of continued formation in these challenging times.
The holiest days of the Church calendar are approaching. As we prepare to observe Holy Week and celebrate Easter from a distance, let us trust in God and rely on one another as together we continue to prepare young people with the knowledge and skills necessary for success in life as well as the values necessary for life everlasting.