Catholic schools closed through April 30

In a letter dated March 31, Interim Superintendent Kenya Fuemmeler announced that diocesan schools will abide by a decree issued by Bishop W. Shawn McKnight and remain closed through April 30, with the possibility of finishing the school year online. The full letter follows.

In light of the guidance from the United States Federal Government, the State of Missouri, the directives of county health officials, the special Decree from the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (Prot. N. 153/20 and “Update” of 25 March 2020), and for benefit of the common good, Bishop McKnight issued a formal decree effective April 1, 2020 through April 30, 2020.

This decree expressly forbids public celebrations of the liturgy and devotions.  Families and individuals may make visits to their parish church for private prayer as long as no more than ten people are present in the church at the same time and social distancing (at least six feet in between persons) is observed.  Pastors and their equivalent are responsible for ensuring that no more than ten persons are present in the church whenever it is open to the public.  Families and individuals are encouraged to pray at home especially the Liturgy of the Hours, the Scriptures, the Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and to participate spiritually in sacred celebrations live-streamed from the Holy See, our Cathedral, and their local parish church.

With a formal decree suspending the public celebration of the liturgy and devotions, our schools must remain closed. Schools within the Diocese of Jefferson City must remain closed until April 30, 2020. The original plan was to evaluate these situations based on local county guidance and in consultation with the local public school. We are now working to keep ourselves within the recommendations of our federal government. This is an unprecedented situation with widespread implications. If schools can safely return to their physical campuses after April 30, then they should be expected to return through their normal calendar. If schools cannot safely return to their physical campuses until April 30, they should continue educating students through May 15, 2020.

It is the duty and calling of the Catholic school to ensure the healthy formation – body, mind, and soul- of all students entrusted to its care. At times of national and international crisis it is our call to serve our Country by assisting authorities to help curb the spread of COVID-19.  Please see the guidelines below:

— To meet the educational needs of students entrusted to their care, in whatever means works at the best local level, including e-learning, packets, or other means.

— All extracurricular activities at the schools should be postponed/canceled, including athletics.

— The local school should meet all guidelines set forth by the federal, state, and local governments, including the limitations of gatherings of ten or less with six feet of social distance.

Kenya Fuemmeler
Interim Superintendent of Schools