St. Emily Students Successfully Return to In-Person Learning

  • St. Emily student Matthew Kottra, grade 3, at his desk.  Student desk placement allows for six feet between students.

    St. Emily student Matthew Kottra, grade 3, at his desk. Student desk placement allows for six feet between students. Courtesy of St. Emily School

Updated 9/1/2020 8:57 AM

The first day of school excitement was unmistakable as parents said their goodbyes, students scurried out of their cars and reunited with their friends, and teachers warmly welcomed their students back to class as they entered the building.

With a successful week of in-person instruction completed, St. Emily has begun to settle into the new school year, but one that is operating very differently than in previous years.


Before bringing the faculty and students back into the classroom, the Archdiocese of Chicago approved and certified the school's reopening plan which includes a cohort model, masks, new arrival procedures, and increased facility cleaning and hygiene.

Additionally, the school's pastor, Fr. James Presta, and new school principal, Ms. Karen Booth, purchased portable air conditioning units with a dehumidifier for every classroom.

The added safety measures are paying off. St. Emily parent, Geraldine Stevens "wouldn't want her daughter anywhere else but her home away from home." Stevens appreciates that both "faculty and school families are committed to adhering to the safety protocols to keep in-class learning available" because at St. Emily School, her daughter "is loved, nurtured, trusted, educated, and inspired to be her best self."

Ms. Booth credits the hard work of the reopening team and support of the school's parents for a successful first week. Booth "feels proud to be part of this wonderful community" and believes that the emails from parents stating that their children are happy to be back in the school and feel safe in the school serve as a testament to the success of St. Emily's reopening plan.

Like Geraldine Stevens, the St. Emily community is cautiously optimistic as the school forges ahead into its new normal this fall.

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