Important safety information for SY21-22

Hello Catalyst families!

We hope that you are safe, healthy and are doing well! We are incredibly excited to welcome scholars back to school for the 2021-2022 school year on Monday August 30, 2021! The safety of our school communities is Catalyst’s highest priority and of the greatest importance to our mission of teaching minds and touching hearts.  

With the start of the school year for scholars on August 30, 2021, we want to provide our Catalyst famolies with some of the safety procedures we are implementing in our school communities. The procedures below have been developed following public health guidance and guidelines established by the Illinois State Board of Education, Chicago Public Schools, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Illinois Department of Public Health. Some of these protocols include:

  • Weekly screening testing with SHIELD Illinois: All unvaccinated students will undergo weekly COVID-19 screening testing.  Screening testing will identify infected individuals without symptoms or known exposure and take measures such as timely isolation and quarantine to prevent further transmission. Screening testing will be implemented by Catalyst, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), and SHIELD Illinois. More information on the testing is linked here and all students will participate in testing unless their parent completes an opt-out form, linked here.
  • Rigorous air quality and ventilation standards: To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, every classroom and office space has BlueAir air purifier(s) that circulates air 5X per hour and assists in reducing the risk of indoor transmission of viruses and bacteria. In January 2021, Environmental Group Services, Limited (EGSL) personnel performed airborne particulate matter (PM10) surveys at Catalyst Circle Rock and Catalyst Maria. The investigation included the visual inspection of all classrooms, offices and common areas within the school buildings, and temperature, relative humidity, carbon monoxide/dioxide and airborne particulate matter (PM10) values were measured, providing an overall assessment of the IAQ in the buildings. All values were within acceptable parameters and reports to this effect are available on our website linked here.
  • Universal Masking: Per the mandate from Governor Pritzker and IDPH, cloth face coverings must be worn by all staff and students while indoors regardless of a person’s vaccination status. Catalyst will provide a mask to any student or staff member that does not have their own face mask at any time.
  • Social Distancing: Catalyst will strive to provide three feet of social distancing wherever possible.
  • Contact Tracing: Catalyst will work in coordination with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) to ensure that those identified as close contacts of a person diagnosed with COVID-19 have rapid contact tracing and are connected to resources such as monitoring and testing.
  • Good Hand Hygiene: We have hand sanitizer dispensers in every hallway, entry point and main office and will have gallon hand sanitizers and spray disinfectant bottles in every classroom.
  • Enhanced Cleaning Procedures: Catalyst will deploy additional custodians on each floor to help carry out stringent cleaning and sanitizing protocols every day in each school, in addition to enhanced cleaning protocols before, during, and after each day.
  • Health Messaging: Catalyst will post signage and regularly remind students of key health messaging, such as covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands thoroughly and frequently, and staying home if sick. 
  • All Catalyst students, staff, and approved visitors will be asked each day they enter Catalyst building to consider the following questions and not enter the school until they are able to answer “no” to all questions below. UPDATE in SY21-22- If a student is unable to answer “No” to all of the questions below, they should inform their school team immediately. The automated digital screener will not need to be completed daily, but families should communicate this information when applicable.
  • Please consider the following questions and do send your child to school until you are able to answer “no” to all questions for them.

    • Are you feeling ill?
    • Are you experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. fever, sore throat, cough, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, vomiting, or severe headache) that you cannot attribute to a known cause?
    • Have you been in close contact with anyone in the last 14 days who has COVID-19?
    • Are you quarantining because of possible exposure to a person with COVID-19?
    • Are you waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test or have you tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 10 days?
    • Have you traveled to a location in the last ten days that would make you out of compliance with Chicago’s Travel Order?
    • Por favor, considera las preguntas siguientes y no entres en la escuela hasta que puedas responder con ‘no’ a todas las preguntas.
    • ¿Te sientes enfermo?

    • ¿Tienes algún síntoma de COVID-19 (por ejempló fiebre, garganta reseca, tos, dificultad para respirar, diarrea, vomito o dolor de cabeza severo) que no pueda atributar a una causa conocida?

    • ¿Has tenido contacto con alguien que tiene diagnóstico de COVID-19 en los 14 días pasados?

    • ¿Estás en cuarentena porque es posible que estuvieras expuesto a una persona con COVID-19?

    • ¿Estás esperando los resultados de una prueba de COVID-19 o as recibido un resultado positive de COVID-19 en los últimos diez días?

    • En los últimos diez días as viajado a una locación que te pondría fuera del cumplimiento de la orden de viaje de Chicago?


Please do not hesitate to contact our team with questions:

Catalyst Circle Rock- 773-945-5025

Catalyst Maria- 773-993-1770

We understand the gravity and significance of educating 1,600 scholars at any time, and this is only heightened during the continued global pandemic.  We are honored to partner with our Catalyst families as we collectively move forward and are here to support in any way that we can.  We look forward to a great first day on August 30, 2021 and a terrific 2021-2022 school year!


Catalyst honored to be Invest For Kids grantee!

We are honored to announce that Catalyst has been selected by Invest For Kids to receive a significant grant to enhance our instructional support as our scholars return to full on-site learning during the 2021-2022 school year.

Invest For Kids' mission is "to support highly effective not-for profit organizations that serve Chicago area youth from disadvantaged communities." We are honored to be selected as a partner and recipient of this generous support, and will use this funding to directly enhance programming and initiatives focused on scholars' academic and social-emotional development.

To learn more about Invest For Kids please visit their website by clicking on the linked logo below.  Many, many thanks to Invest For Kids and we look forward to an exceptional start to the 2021-2022 school year on August 30, 2021!

IFK Logo-1

School-based vaccination sites for students and families

Hello Catalyst families!

We hope that you are safe, healthy and are doing well!

All individuals 12 and older are eligible to receive a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. We encourage scholars to become vaccinated as soon as possible, as those that are fully vaccinated will not need to quarantine if they are exposed to a positive/potential COVID-19 case.

In partnership with CDPH and other approved healthcare providers, CPS has three vaccination sites to specifically support our students and families.The following vaccination sites will be available:

  • Tuesdays: 9am to 1pm at Chicago Vocational Career Academy, located at 2100 E. 87th St. in Chicago’s Avalon Park neighborhood. 
  • Wednesdays: 9am to 1pm at Theodore Roosevelt High School, located at 3436 W. Wilson Ave. in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood.
  • Thursdays: 9am to 1pm at Michele Clark High School, located at 5101 W. Harrison St. in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood.  

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please visit cps.edu/vaccinations. Appointments are available, but walk-ins will also be welcome. The vaccine is FREE, and no proof of health insurance or citizenship is needed. A parent or guardian is required to be present during COVID-19 vaccination for anyone under 18.

Catalyst Schools 2021-2022 Transportation, STLS and FERPA Policies

Hello Catalyst families! 

We hope that you are doing well! Please find the Catalyst Schools' 2021-2022 policies for Students in Temporary Living Situations (STLS), Transportation, and PII/FERPA below. Copies are also available in the Catalyst Circle Rock and Catalyst Maria Main Offices and Family Engagement Rooms. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Catalyst Circle Rock, Catalyst Maria or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Thank you and we look forward to a terrific 2021-2022 school year!

Transportation Policy 2021-2022

Students in Temporary Living Situations (STLS) Policy 

PII and FERPA 2021-2021 

Vaccination Opportunities July 2021

Dear Catalyst families,

We hope that you are safe, healthy and are doing well.  All individuals 12 and older are eligible to receive a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The last day to be fully vaccinated by the first day of school (August 30, 2021) is Monday July 26, 2021, although we encourage scholars to become vaccinated as soon as possible.  Those that are fully vaccinated will not need to quarantine if they are exposed to a positive/potential COVID-19 case, and below are resources for Catalyst families to become vaccinated:

  • You can contact your health care provider- the clinic, health center, or hospital where you receive health services.
  • For Chicago residents- Zocdoc - https://www.zocdoc.com/vaccine or use their call center at 312-746-4835.
  • Federal, State, and County-operated clinics:
  • Several stores are currently offering COVID-19 vaccines, and each has its own registration link:
    • Walgreens appointments can be made through this link.  
    • Jewel-Osco appointments can be made through this link.
    • Walmart appointments can be made through this link.
    • Mariano’s appointments can be made through this link
    • CVS appointments can be made through this link.

Support Catalyst    

Please join our efforts as a champion for changing lives at The Catalyst Schools. If you would like to speak with a Catalyst staff member about your donation, please call us at 773-295-7001.