Kootenai County in RED Zone

Well, that happened quickly.  Kootenai County is now in the RED category for substantial community transmission of COVID-19.  Our hospital is at capacity.  Please, HFCS, please pray.  I’ve seen COVID-19 torment my parents and I watched helplessly from afar as my grandmother died from its effects.  Please stay safe and please, please pray.

We are not currently changing anything at this time at HFCS, other than making sure we’re tightening up our already stringent mitigation protocols.  It is more critical than ever that we partner together in ensuring the safety of our students, staff, faculty, and families.  If your child(ren) are sick, please keep them home.  Please make sure masks are clean and fresh daily.  Emphasize to your family the importance of social distancing–even at school–so that we keep our friends, neighbors, and community safe.  

I don’t believe that we need to change our instructional plan at this time.  If that does change, I will communicate with you ASAP.  Again, prayer and vigilance are our best weapons against this pandemic.  Together, we can do this!

Kootenai County in ORANGE zone

Dear HFCS Community,

On 10/15/2020, Panhandle Health moved Kootenai County to the “Orange Zone” due to increased transmission of COVID-19. The CDA School Board is having a special meeting on Monday, 10/19/2020, to discuss their plans. In the spring of 2020, Holy Family Catholic School followed the lead of the CDA school district; we didn’t know as much about COVID-19 and mitigation strategies and were encouraged by the Diocese to follow the lead of the local school district.  Since then, HFCS has created a COVID-19 task force, trained in contact tracing, and learned much about COVID-19 mitigation strategies.  We have been empowered by the Diocese to make our own decisions, independent of the local school district, based on our community’s needs and numbers.  This led to the HFCS Reopening Plan; an updated copy is posted on our website at https://hfcs-cda.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/HFCS-2020-21-Full-Open-Model-1.pdf.

The HFCS COVID-19 team met after Panhandle Health made its announcement.  We reviewed our plan and our current status and are NOT changing our instructional plan at this time.  We will continue to offer in-person learning at HFCS five days per week.  The team and I will continue to monitor the situation as it applies to our school and will continue to assess the best path forward.  This means that, even if the CDA district returns to hybrid or distance learning plans, we are not at this time.

Please continue your excellent work of keeping our students safe by adhering to social distancing strategies, the mask mandate, and keeping sick children home.  We’re all in this together, and we can keep each other safe if we continue to care for one another through our actions.  I will continue to keep you posted as the COVID-19 situation progresses in Kootenai County and the State of Idaho.

If you have any questions, please email us at office@hfcs-cda.org.  This is our new office email; it is checked daily, no matter who is scheduled to be in the office any given day. Stay safe, HFCS!


This week is our annual SUCCESS phonathon! We have a team of dedicated callers and clerical support who are diligently working to raise critical funds for our school. Thank you to all who have contributed to our SUCCESS campaign and all those who are donating time, talent, and snacks to our phonathon and other areas of SUCCESS! You are appreciated!

If you haven’t donated yet, don’t worry; there’s plenty of time to show your support for HFCS! An easy way to donate is through this very website. Just follow this link: https://hfcs.schoolauction.net/success/give. Thank you for your support!

This is our first week back in person with all students, all five days. It has been a joyful reunion and I’m so proud of our students for their diligence in following our protocols so we can all be safe.

September 8, 2020

Dear HFCS Community,

Welcome back to Holy Family Catholic School!  I was just reading my back to school message from last year and reflecting on all that’s transpired in the last 12 months.  Wow!  It’s really incredible that we find ourselves where we are today…and to ponder the events that led us here.  Regardless, whether you are a returning family or new to our school, I pray that you and your students have a blessed, exciting, faith-forming and fun-filled school year. 

Even in our uncertain times, HFCS is committed to providing the best possible educational environment for all students—and we will support our teachers in ensuring that they have the tools and support that they need to be successful!  We are taking our time getting into the swing of school because it’s important for our students.  We are going to use this time to assess and gather data so that we can tailor our instruction to each child’s strengths and weaknesses.  We will provide “excellence in education—both spiritually and academically—for the whole person, thereby nourishing the gifts uniquely given to each by God.”

We’ve done a lot of work to keep our students, staff, and teachers safe this school year.  Thank you for complying with our requests and requirements and understanding that we are implementing precautions not out of fear, but out of respect and love.

I’m very excited for this school year.  I’m anticipating a year full of faith, growth, excitement, and engagement!  Let’s make this the best year HFCS has ever seen!  Go Hawks!


We’re back! It was wonderful to have kiddos in the building and on the playground again. One of my favorite things is the joyful noise that students make in the building, in the classrooms, and on the playground–and it has been sorely missing for the last six months. I nearly cried with happiness during drop off this week; so many smiles, even behind the masks.

I have to give a shout-out to the teachers for the creative and wonderful ways they welcomed our students back to the building. We have aquariums and terrariums, office spaces and more. Lots and lots of outdoor learning is occurring. We have great teachers here!!

The week was full of back-to-school procedures, learning some new rules (thanks to COVID), and lots of fun with friends. Thank you for sharing your children with us. Thank you for trusting us to keep them safe. Thank you for your prayers and your support for Holy Family Catholic School.

HFCS Reopening Update

Dear HFCS Community,

I really cannot believe that it is the last week of July!  I can’t say that I’m enjoying the super-warm weather, but I am so thankful for the technology that brings us air conditioning! 

We have a lot going on at HFCS, trying to prepare for the new school year and navigate best practices to keep our students, faculty, and staff safe.  This post is intended to give you a brief outline of our plans.  A more complete document is on its way, pending approval from Panhandle Health and the Diocese of Boise.

Although we are hoping to begin the school year fully open on September 2nd, we also must plan for the different scenarios that the pandemic may throw at us between now and then—and beyond.  We have three different educational opportunities that we are planning for the 2020-2021 school year:

  1. Full Open:  A full open schedule will see us in the school every day.  There will be social distancing and hand washing protocols in place and we will be adhering to the Panhandle Health mask mandate.  I do not foresee students wearing masks all day; only when they cannot be safely socially distanced.  Teachers will be asked to structure their classrooms so that students can work at their desks without masks.  Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols will be in place.
  2. Hybrid Open:  A hybrid schedule will have students physically in the school building on alternating days.  Families will be assigned to “A” days or “B” days.  On your designated days, your students will attend school physically while the other group works at home.  Teachers will live stream classes daily for students working at home.  Specials will be on the days students are physically at school (so both A and B groups will have music and PE on their days at school).  Social distancing, masks, cleaning protocols, etc., will still be in place.
  3. Distance Learning:  This option can happen for two reasons:  1) The school is closed for a short time pending a COVID investigation and/or due to uncontrolled community spread and 2) if parents/guardians are uncomfortable with the physical risks at HFCS and wish their students to attend HFCS virtually.  Teachers will be live stream classes daily for students who are at home, whether for quarantine or by choice.

Right now, we all have a part to play in making the school year a success.  Our children will follow our leads and need to know that—while this isn’t a perfect situation—it is the scenario under which we are allowed to be together again!  We all have to sacrifice a little to make HFCS a safe place for us all.  Please practice mask wearing and handwashing hygiene with your child(ren) before the start of the school year.  

All of these precautions are really a social work of mercy:  we are trying to not only stay safe ourselves, but also to keep those around us healthy and safe.  There are many diverging views and opinions; I am confident that we can come together as a community and do what’s best for our children and our school.

Please take care and stay safe!

Many blessings,

Bridgit Arkoosh, Principal

July 2020!

Happy Summer! I’m so enjoying the relatively mild weather; I know that I’m in the minority, there, but it looks like the normal heat of July is on its way here.

There have been a lot of questions this summer about our reopening plans for the Fall. My plan is to reopen the doors to our students on Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020. The big caveat to that statement is: I can’t predict the future, nor can I promise that we can reopen as planned. We are working as hard as possible throughout the summer to make reopening a reality. We are also working on contingency plans for hybrid and distance learning. All of these plans include emergency child care options for families who have two parents working outside of the home.

Even with a reopening in September, there are going to be some necessary changes in the way we operate. I have a huge responsibility here, for the health and safety of our students, our faculty, our staff, and our families. This is a responsibility that I take seriously–and I am going to err on the side of caution in all things. What does this mean? Well, it means that we are going to try to socially distance via desk placement and carpet markers. It means that students will be asked to wear masks while working in groups or otherwise not distanced. It means that lunch will probably be served in the classroom and that recess parameters will be narrowed. It means that our attendance policies and expectations will have to be altered. I will do whatever is necessary to keep our HFCS family safe.

A reopening plan will be published soon. I have a task force of parents, teachers, and staff who are helping me sift through expert guidance from the CDC, Panhandle Health, and the State of Idaho to make decisions that are right for our community. Please keep us all in your prayers.

Stay safe and healthy, HFCS!

Ms. Arkoosh

March 25th, 2020

Dear HFCS Community,

Gov. Little just announced a stay-at-home order effective immediately, for the next 21 days, unless you are in an essential service job or seeking groceries, food, medicine, etc. Official guidance has not been posted, but is supposed to be posted later today at https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/. This means that the school office will be closed on Tuesdays (and all other days) for the foreseeable future.

We are all overwhelmed, tired, worried, and weary; we will get through this! Take advantage of the enforced time with family and enjoy your loved ones. Spring break is in our future…we only have a half day of school tomorrow and then the kiddos are free! We are all looking forward to talking with you during parent-teacher conferences tomorrow and Friday; please let us know if you need to reschedule for any reason.

“God’s love calls us to move beyond fear. We ask God for the courage to abandon ourselves unreservedly, so that we might be molded by God’s grace, even as we cannot see where that path may lead us.” – St. Ignatius Loyola

You are in my prayers daily. We’ve got this, HFCS!

Many blessings,

Bridgit Arkoosh, Principal

March 24th, 2020

Dear HFCS Community,

The news yesterday about the extended closure broke my heart. I want everyone to be safe and healthy–and I want us to all be back at HFCS as a community of faith and learners. This experience is certainly a time to take stock of our many blessings and give thanks–event in the face of tribulation. We have so many creature comforts; we have our school family and friends; and most importantly, we have our faith.

So, following the guidance of the Idaho State Board of Education, we will be closed until April 20th. We have been working to gather resources to help you navigate the school closure; they are posted here: http://hfcs-cda.org/covid-19-news-and-resources/. We will continue to update the page, so please share any resource that has helped you during this closure.

Tomorrow at 9:30 am, we will have an all-school prayer service via Google Meet. Please join us by following this link: meet.google.com/jax-ydrc-mez. You can also call in with the following number and PIN: 470-228-0004; PIN: 783 921 797#.

We will still have Parent-Teacher Conferences on Thursday and Friday. I know that I speak for the teachers when I say that we are excited to visit with you! Please notify your child(ren)’s teacher(s) if you cannot meet during the scheduled time, whether via phone or video conference. We will NOT be having face-to-face conferences.

Thank you for your patience and fortitude. We are all working as hard as we can to ensure that our students are experiencing excellence in education–both spiritually and academically–for the whole person, thereby nourishing the gifts uniquely given to each by God.

Today’s quote of encouragement comes from St. Therese of Lisieux: “For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.” Recognize God’s hand in all of this and find the joy in our trials. We’ve got this, HFCS!

Go Hawks!

Many blessings,

Bridgit Arkoosh, Principal