Phones are seemingly constantly ringing at private schools across Chicago after officials announced that all Chicago Public Schools will begin the 2020-21 school year with remote instruction.
“We’ve had calls from people wanting their children to be engaged in in-class instruction,” Mahdi Dadrass, Director of the South Loop Montessori School, said.
That school is just one of many that are seeing an uptick in interest, as they’ll offer in-person instruction in the fall. Dadrass says they are willing to take on new students that are craving a return to the classroom.
“Success profiles are quite different in terms of general engagement. Children really have that social, emotional need to be around their peers,” Dadrass said.
The Archdiocese of Chicago is fielding more phone calls than usual too.
“I think parents are faced with a really tough choice, and they are looking at all their options and weighing them,” Justin Lombaro, Chief Human Resource and Staff Development Officer for the Archdiocese, said.
Catholic schools in Chicago are offering e-learning options for students, but also believes that bringing students back to class is in their best interests.
“Part of who we are as a Catholic school system is development of the whole person,” Lombardo said.
Those private schools choosing to implement in-person instruction must follow CDC, state and city guidelines, including those involving social distancing and mandatory face coverings.
The South Loop Montessori School is testing its teachers on a bi-weekly basis, and the Archdiocese says its hired its own infectious disease doctors to help guide them through reopening.
“We know to maintain our promise to kids and our staff, we have to watch this every day from every angle,” Lombardo said.