Because Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington have closed from March 16-27 in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), the archdiocese has reached out to parents of Catholic school students, offering online resources and practical advice to help children navigate this challenging time.

“When in-school learning is not possible, using research-based digital education programs at home can help children stay engaged, provide them valuable learning experiences, and maintain some continuity in their lives,” Bill Ryan, the archdiocesan Secretary for Catholic Schools, wrote in a March 18 letter to parents and guardians.

In addition to the recommended digital resources, Ryan reminded parents that “our students participate in prayer throughout their regular school day. Continuing this ritual while they are at home, may benefit the entire family.”

He also encouraged parents to address any concerns or fears their children may express as schools remain closed.

“Worries about the coronavirus, sudden school closure and the uncertainty of what to expect in the coming weeks may cause more anxiety in children. When kids worry, it is helpful for them to have some time to talk about what they are thinking and to let them ask questions about what is happening,” Ryan wrote in his letter.

He suggested that parents ”minimize anxiety by creating a weekday routine that includes getting up and dressed, at a designated time, starting the day with prayer, eating breakfast and lunch, incorporating breaks from electronics, and time for work and play.”

Ryan also urged parents to “continue to work with your school for information regarding their academic enrichment plan during this closure. All schools are preparing for the possibility of extended campus closures, as we await updates from our state and local governments.”

He also assured parents that while they are closed, “every school will be thoroughly cleaned in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.”

The following is a list of digital resources recommended by Ryan to help parents help their children:

Teaching Catholic Kids - Catholic Prayers 

Family Prayers - Loyola Press 

Archdiocese of Washington Catholic Schools Family Resources 

National Catholic Educational Association Lenten family resources 

Scholastic Learn at Home 

150+ Educational Shows on Netflix 

Amazing Online Educational Resources 

Common Sense Media Coronavirus Resources 

Non-Screen Activities at Home