Since it opened its doors to students last fall, Our Lady of Perpetual Help School has continued to offer full, in-person learning during these unique and trying times.
Glenview-based OLPH has gone above and beyond to provide students with an “as near normal as possible” school experience, maintaining a safe environment by following protocols outlined by the federal government, state and Archdiocese.
Recognizing that one-on-one interaction is critical to educational growth, OLPH upholds a daily commitment to the safety, education and faith formation of all students using a proven formula.
Students in preschool through eighth grade are assigned to learning cohorts, where OLPH staff teaches directly to each classroom. Parents check in children before each school day through a health app, with additional screening upon arrival on campus. Desks are distanced, masks are required all day, and sanitizing stations are strategically positioned around school grounds.
Even recess has been reimagined. Music blasts while children run around within their cohort, or they chat with friends from socially distanced beach towels. In the center of it all are the teachers and staff, who are truly the crux of sustaining the safe environment while keeping a love of learning alive.
The technology within the school has kept up with the demands of the changing world. If a child is quarantined from his or her cohort because of illness, the student will join through Zoom. If an entire cohort must quarantine, teaching continues from home via a pre-coordinated, well-communicated process of ongoing education.
Two elements have emerged as the keys to success in keeping the school open during a pandemic: the full participation of the parents, and the diligence of staff and teachers.
“Without the parents following the guidelines – such as keeping their children home when they aren’t feeling well – this simply wouldn’t work,” said Meghan Johnson, an OLPH mother of two.
But it’s the teachers and staff who keep the wheels of education rolling at OLPH.
“The nurses and teachers are unified in their messaging,” Johnson added. “No exceptions are made. I believe that is what has kept our school open.”
Patient, consistent teachers combined with willing parents are not only the reason why Catholic schools have stayed open during the pandemic, but also why families choose a Catholic education in the first place. Today, OLPH continues to provide academics, values and a faith-based structure in the same manner as it has for more than 90 years.
“OLPH’s ability to adapt to the unprecedented circumstances and their commitment to our children’s safety has strengthened our trust and confidence in the school,” said Nicole Hirtzig, an OLPH mother of two. “As parents, OLPH’s approach to safety has eased the angst we feel. But to our children, it has been a source of calm and stability in a world where there seems to be little.”