The Digital Classroom

March 27, 2020

Weekly Update for Families on Catholic Schools During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Dear School Families,


As you know, on Wednesday, Governor Charlie Baker announced the extension of school closures for K-12 schools and non-emergency early education programs until May 4. This announcement includes Catholic and private schools. You can find more information via these links:


READ: https://bit.ly/2UjYWuo

WATCH: https://youtu.be/yVAnenJcM2c


During this closure of the physical school buildings, we remain committed to joyfully educating and supporting your children. Watch the video below to see what I mean.

----


Tomorrow is the final night of Cardinal Seán's Lenten Retreat, and he will speak on the topic of "The Eucharist." Visit www.bostoncatholic.org/virtualretreat. The sessions from the first five days are also available on this website.


In Christ,

Tom


Thomas W. Carroll

Superintendent of Schools

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston

Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Boston - Here for You Always

Produced by: George Martell

Reflection of the Week

Big picture
This thoughtful reflection from the Solemnity of the Annunciation is contributed by Matignon High School's Campus Minister, Mrs. Lenn Johnson. Click here to read the full reflection.

Guidance for Online Safety

As you are well aware, during the current pandemic, our children are spending a lot more time on screens than we're accustomed to. Before two weeks ago, we could assume that a lot of their screen time was for leisure activities and we could monitor accordingly. Today, however, we've been thrust into a Brave New World of remote learning with little knowledge or experience of what it will entail.


In the past, we had a much better handle on what our kids were doing and with whom our kids were interacting with online. How do we mitigate the risks our kids might be exposed to today? How do we explain these risks to them? And how do we protect them while they're online?


Although, it may seem to be a daunting task when you first consider it, protecting yourself and your family online is very similar to how you teach your kids to protect themselves IRL — a cyber way of saying "In Real Life."


In fact, many large data breaches and cases of identity theft happen because people don't follow simple rules:

· Don't talk to strangers

· Don't share any personal information with people you don't know


Kids in the pre-digital era were taught:

· Don't answer the door if you aren't 100% sure who's on the other side

· If you answer the phone when your parents aren't home, don't let the person on the other end know you're alone


In the online age, we need to teach our kids similarly:

· Don't share personal information

· Don’t send pictures of yourself to people you don’t know

· Don’t post or share pictures of yourself that you don’t want the world to see

· Stop talking to anyone who asks for these things and tell a trusted adult

· Don’t download anything on the computer without talking to an adult first

· Don’t be on a screen in a private room, but rather in common areas


We also need to remind our children to behave online in the same way that they would behave in person:

· Be kind to one another

· Stand up for those who are being picked on

· Let a trusted adult know if someone else is being bullied


Together with our school leaders and teachers, please know your child’s safety is of the utmost importance to us. If you’re interested in learning more, please find links to other resources below:


Cyber Safety Resources


Home Network Control

Many internet providers allow you to control device access


Parental Control Software

Install this software on your family’s devices to control what they can access, their screen time, and in some cases monitor their location


Social Media and Access Monitoring

Install software on devices and it will monitor, detect, and alert across multiple social media platforms


As always — if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Resources for Supporting Your Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Feeling Stressed...?

Join acclaimed authors and Harvard Medical School Professors Dr. Nancy Rappaport and Dr. Robert Brooks as they team up to support parents and teachers who are feeling the stress of today’s challenges (health concerns, parenting, financial, and remote education).


We are offering two sessions via GoToWebinar:


April 1, 9am: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4892473106677222155

Remaining Resilient in an Uncertain Time

The late psychologist Julius Segal wrote that for children to be resilient they need the presence of “charismatic adults” in their lives. Such adults provide an important source of strength and stability for children, especially during this pandemic. By taking care of ourselves and building our own resilience and managing our understandable stress, we are better able to support our children. Drs. Brooks and Rappaport will discuss:

· Adopting a “personal control” outlook, which focuses on the things we CAN control, such as our attitudes and responses to challenges

· Maintaining social and professional connections during social distancing

· Making TLCs: therapeutic lifestyle changes, including exercise, diet, and mindfulness/prayer

· Finding “contributory activities” which enrich the lives of others without compromising our own well-being

· Focusing on gratitude


April 3, 9am: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8744984829032287499

Supporting Students in an Uncertain Time

Drs. Brooks and Rappaport will discuss how to support our children and students during this time of uncertainty and change. Topics will include:

· Communicating in ways that are age-appropriate, calm, honest, and realistically hopeful

· Validating children’s questions and worries and remaining emotionally available when kids express their emotions in challenging ways

· Balancing structure and rigidity around schedules, schoolwork, and media

· Supporting students with a history of trauma and those with challenging home lives

· Promoting problem-solving skills, maintaining social connections, and providing “contributory activities” that allow children to help others


These workshops are open to all adults in Archdiocese of Boston Catholic school communities (leaders, faculty and staff, parents).


In addition, Drs. Rappaport and Brooks have written two articles that can help during this crisis:

Faith-based Resources for Virtual Education

A small sampling of the digital and remote learning that took place this week in the Archdiocese

Today's COVID-19 Briefings from the Government