The following press releases are from the Diocese of Rockville Centre:
Catholic Elementary Schools – High Technology and Strong Faith Working Together
The highly unusual circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak, and subsequent shutting down of much of society, has helped to identify the things that really matter in our lives. The unique circumstances have tested our abilities to leverage the wealth of technologies that Catholic Elementary Schools have invested in, and tested the partnership between parents and educators. The families and students in our school communities have found comfort from the close relationship each has with their faith, and with each other, in the uncertainty introduced by the global pandemic.
Academically, each student in a Catholic school was already a user of the Google apps for education (the Google G-Suite) and each student has a Google account that they can access from any device, anywhere they can access the Internet. In the days leading up to the closing of the schools, the schools made sure that every student had access to a suitable device to continue their learning remotely, and loaned devices to students who needed them.
Faculty responded quickly, with teachers ‘translating’ lesson plans to make them engaging and effective when presented online. Pastors and Principals orchestrated the activities and began each new day with morning announcements, a morning prayer, and the pledge of allegiance. School days continued, uninterrupted, right down to the acknowledgement of students celebrating birthdays. The tight communities around our schools worked together to maintain a sense of normalcy for the students.
As the schools and students enter week 2, with the technical and educational challenges under control, students are completing and sharing projects online, they are seeing and interacting with their classmates in online forums. Students are attending Liturgies and prayer services online, and their schools have even begun to bring their art and music classes to them via Skype, Zoom and Google. The things that have always made Catholic school special all remain intact – and the warmth, love and support of these beautiful faith communities has never been more important.
You can follow the daily progress in Long Island’s Catholic Elementary Schools on Facebook @CatholicElementary or @drvcdoe. You can also find us on Instagram and Twitter.
Keeping the Faith Alive
Despite the fact that we are currently unable to gather together for Mass and prayer, the parish and regional elementary schools and Diocesan schools are keeping the Catholic faith alive for their students during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. Through the use of school websites, social media, and parent communication platforms, administrators, faculty, students, and parents are joining together virtually.
Here are some of the ways the faith is kept alive:
- Through video conferences for Morning Prayer and Afternoon Prayer as a school community
- Daily prayer videos shared through SchoolMessenger and social media
- Posting of Catholic prayer content on our school websites, such as Bishop Barron’s Word on Fire
- Use of FORMED with students
- St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School is providing streaming of Daily Mass and will provide streaming of Adoration the evening of Tuesday, March 24
- Holy Trinity Diocesan High School prayers the Divine Mercy Chaplet every day at 3 PM
- Notre Dame Schools has posted the Stations of the Cross around the perimeter of the school property for all who wish to pray
- Ss Philip & James School will provide a video of the Stations of the Cross on Friday, March 27
- Fr. Adrian McHugh, Pastor of St. Aidan School, records videos for students and is streaming Daily Mass.
- At. St. Mary School in East Islip, the nursery teacher is sharing with students daily videos of their Circle Time, including prayer and Lenten song.
- Each day on Facebook, St. Rose of Lima School posts a video of morning prayer with the Daily Reading
- St. Agnes Cathedral School continues to post their daily Lenten songs each day on social media
- If available, schools are streaming their parish’s daily and weekend Masses
Though we cannot be together physically, we remain united in one Faith, prayer for each other and an end to this pandemic.