March 30, 2020
Dear Catholic School Parents and Guardians,
Thank you to all our faculty and school administrators throughout the Diocese for your amazing response, with very little notice, to move from traditional classroom lessons to distance learning. I have been able to attend some of the sessions that are going on throughout the diocese, and Mrs. Rose and I are so impressed. I also want to thank the parents for working with our faculty during this unprecedented time in world.
These are truly challenging times amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In a homily I gave this past weekend, I reminded people of the struggle that Martha and Mary were having with the death of their brother Lazarus. They were feeling anxiety and loss and demonstrated a sense of spiritual frustration. I think we can all relate to Martha and Mary during these times in various ways. Remember to stay strong in your faith and not let fear overtake your emotions. Recall that we are a people of peace, and we should not be working out of panic. Please take time to pray. Pray for all those that have been affected, those who have died, and for an end to this pandemic.
In consultation with Bishop Estévez, the diocesan leadership is following the guidance that we received today from the Governor and Florida Department of Education. All schools in the State are to remain closed until May 1, including Catholic schools. During this time, we will continue distance learning with the exception of Easter vacation. It is extremely important that the students continue to complete the assignments given by your school as these grades will be used to determine if a student is prepared for promotion to the next grade level or to graduate.
All field trips, athletic events and any large school gatherings (galas, auction, dances, etc.) remain canceled or postponed until the students return to regular on-site classes.
The Florida Office for Early Learning and local coalitions have asked that early learning centers throughout the State of Florida remain open. Most of our stand-alone early learning centers have remained open. We are taking extra precautions to keep these sites sanitized and operational to serve our families, but most importantly these sites allow first responders, medical professionals, government officials, and grocery store personnel the ability to continue to serve us.
Regarding travel, the guidance from the CDC changes according to what is happening nationally and globally. Please understand that any travel might involve self-quarantine. We ask that you communicate with your schools (when they reopen) and early learning centers of any travel to help keep everyone safe.
Please continue to monitor dosaeducation.org and consult with your schools for further guidance. We understand the difficulty this action continues to have on our families. However, our leaders and medical professionals are giving us important guidance to help everyone. Let us continue to remain calm and pray that this situation will begin to level off and give us back a sense of normalcy for all.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Deacon Scott J. Conway
Superintendent of Catholic Schools