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Petition to Increase School Access to the Parish Center at St. Patrick's

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Please see below letter that will be sent to Msgr. Parry on Tuesday, February 16th. If you agree, please sign the petition by Monday evening. You may sign your name or sign anonymously. Thank you for your support.




February 16, 2021

Rev. Msgr. Charles Parry

St. Patrick’s Parish

4101 Norbeck Road

Rockville, MD

Re: Increasing School Access to the Parish Center to Facilitate in Person Learning



Msgr. Parry,

The purpose of this letter is to initiate a more open dialogue regarding access to the Parish Center to facilitate in-person learning. We are grateful to be part of a strong community of faith and love during an unprecedented pandemic. To that end, we recognize that your Ministry has already made certain adjustments to accommodate the children of St. Patrick’s School.

In this letter, we humbly ask that you consider granting more fulsome access to the Parish Center to enable more of our children to attend School in-person four days per week. Leaders in both the Church and the Government, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, agree that it is beneficial for a child’s development to be in school as much as possible.

We ask that the School and the Parish openly and urgently collaborate to reach an agreement on how to share the Parish Center facility. While we do not presume to have all the facts, it is our impression that much of the Parish Center sits empty during school hours when it could be utilized for classroom and other instruction. It is our understanding that multiple requests for expanded School access to the facility have been denied this year. Certainly, there must be a workable solution allowing for additional use of the large rooms located in the Parish Center.

As this terrible pandemic persists and the duration of the impact remains uncertain, our primary concern is that the current virtual learning model- which is not sustainable for our children - will be unnecessarily sustained by the decision-makers at the School and the Parish. We have concerns that this will be detrimental to the morale of our faithful community, ultimately resulting in attrition from the Parish and School.

Social distancing regulations determine that maximum occupant load in a space by the square footage of a room. We ask that you consider allowing the largest groups of people to use the largest spaces in the Parish Center. To the extent the space is shared, certainly sanitizing protocols can be negotiated between the School and the Parish. One example would be to consider allowing the 3rd grade class to use Room 104 of the Parish Center in order to facilitate in-person learning 4 days per week for some of our youngest students. There is a good chance that social distancing protocols in Montgomery County remain in place through the Fall of 2021. The attrition our Parish and School might suffer if we do not work together to support in-person learning is concerning.

While we understand and appreciate that the Parish Center is a shared space, we ask you to consider allowing the School priority use of the space between 8:00 am- 3:00 pm Monday through Thursday. As our Parish demographic changes and we welcome additional young families, we think that opening the doors of the Parish Center to the children of St. Patrick’s School demonstrates a loving and supportive collaboration during a very difficult time. This collaboration will strengthen the relationships within our Parish and we can emerge from this pandemic as a stronger faith-filled community. We appreciate that there are many factors and obstacles that we may not fully appreciate, but as both Parishioners of St. Patrick’s Church and parents of St. Patricks’ students, we are writing to express our need for a more open dialogue. We are asking that you articulate the barriers to accessing the Parish Center, in writing, so we may begin to problem-solve with your Office and address all obstacles to in-person learning.

While many families elected to sign their names below, many have preferred to remain anonymous at this time for personal reasons. We consider this an urgent request and the favor of your written response is requested by March 1, 2021.

Sincerely,

Concerned St. Patrick’s School Families and Parishioners

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