Our lives are filled with much uncertainty lately, and we’ve all been asked to “stay strong” and “stand together.”
With those phrases of unity in mind, St. Rita of Cascia High School is ready to start the school year and get back to some sense of normalcy and practicality for 2020-21.
According to St. Rita Principal Sante Iacovelli, the staff is ready for the new year.
“We at analyzed all school re-opening guidelines,” Iacovelli said, “and focused on coming up with the best plan for the start of the school year.”
St. Rita is fortunate to have a spacious 37-acre campus with ample space to provide the recommended social distance for its students, faculty and staff.
In addition to classrooms and academic labs, St. Rita’s campus facilities include an enormous chapel, large auditorium, one of the biggest prep gyms on the South Side of Chicago, a spacious dining hall, and the McCarthy Center—which is typically used as an after-school student center but is a flexible space that can be utilized in various ways to keep the campus safe.
After a successful and safe summer camp season that saw hundreds of elementary school students on campus, current St. Rita students returned to campus for freshman orientation on Aug. 14. The rest of the students returned on Aug. 17.
St. Rita employees learned about new classroom safety and campus security measures on Aug. 12. More deep-cleaning has been completed on campus. Floors have been marked for social distancing and hallway traffic flow, and new signage has been installed on the campus.
Security has also taken on a new importance. One of St. Rita’s greatest assets is its experienced security team—comprised of off-duty or retired Chicago Police Department personnel. They have undergone additional training regarding the pandemic.
On Aug. 12 and Aug. 13, all employees received specialized training to be ready to educate Ritamen both in-person using appropriate social distancing and remotely.
St. Rita has adopted a “hybrid” learning model for the start of the 2020-21 academic year.
For the beginning of the year, all students will be in the building twice before starting the hybrid remote-learning model. They will be in school on Monday and Wednesday or Tuesday and Thursday during the first week of school.
The reason for that is to help develop a strong relationship between teachers and students and to provide in-person instruction on what to expect this year.
Students will be divided into two groups, the Red Group and the Blue Group, which are based on the school colors.
Students in the Red Group are scheduled to come to school on Aug. 17 and Aug. 19 and students in the Blue Group on Aug. 18 and Aug. 20. On those days, students assigned to each group will attend school in person; there will not be any remote learning on those days. Friday, Aug. 21, will be the first day of the full hybrid model learning.
The hybrid model will continue until it is safe for everyone to return without any social-distancing requirements.
St. Rita High School, 7740 S. Western Ave., is a Catholic college-preparatory school for young men, rooted in the Gospel of Jesus and the tradition of St. Augustine, following the Augustinian philosophy of education.
St. Rita aims to form each student as a whole person: spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, physically and socially, and to provide its young men with the necessary skills to succeed in college and in life, leading to life-long learning and personal awareness.
For more information, call (773) 925-RITA or visit the website at stritahs.com.