2021–2022 Messages From the President

News from the Hill - February 18, 2022

Dear East Catholic Family,

I think everyone is ready for a break, and fortuitously, we are off the week of February 21 through February 25! Students and faculty are off all week. School offices will be closed on Monday, February 21 for Presidents Day. School offices will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 22 through Friday, February 25. School reopens on Monday, February 28 with a spirit day. Students will be allowed to wear an East Catholic shirt or sweatshirt with their uniform bottoms.

Hopefully, you all saw the email sent on February 17 regarding the change in school policy concerning masks. Beginning on February 28, students at East Catholic High School may wear a mask if they wish, but it will not be required. Please read the full Message from the President - February 17, 2022 below, and contact me should you have any questions.

The State of Connecticut is distributing test kits to all schools in their phase three rollout. We will be sending home two test kits (two tests per kit) to all students and staff during the week of February 28. Please keep them handy should we ask for students to test or if a student has symptoms.

Most winter sports will be wrapping up their regular seasons in the next week or so, and then many are on to league and state tournaments. We wish them all the best of luck!

Stage East is gearing up for this year’s musical, Where’s Charley? Please come enjoy performances at the following times:

  • Thursday, March 3 – 9:00 a.m. – Dress rehearsal for guests attending Grandparents Day
  • Friday, March 4 – 7:00 p.m. – Performance
  • Saturday, March 5 – 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. – Performances

We will celebrate an all-school Mass for Ash Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. on March 2 in the auditorium.

Please forgive a calendar change for Friday, March 18. There will be no school that day for students due to a Faith Formation Mass for all educators and administrators in the Archdiocese of Hartford.

In closing, I wish all of you a safe, healthy, relaxing, and rejuvenating break! Looking forward to seeing you all refreshed on February 28!


Sean P. Brennan ’85

Message from the President - February 17, 2022 

Dear East Catholic Family,

I hope you all are doing well as we bounce from cold snaps to warming spells! Governor Lamont announced his intention to lift the mask mandate for schools, effective February 28. The Archdiocese of Hartford’s guidance is for schools to change their policy to afford parents the choice if they want to send their child to school wearing a mask. I would encourage all of our students to have a conversation with their parents or guardians about how they feel about wearing or not wearing masks. Faculty and staff will not be able to monitor who is wearing a mask or not; that responsibility falls to the student and parent(s) or guardian(s).

Beginning on February 28, students at East Catholic High School may wear a mask if they wish, but it will not be required. Please do not throw away or burn all your masks. There may be times when you may need them, so please be prepared.

Please be mindful of the following:

  • Masks will be required on our school buses.
  • Masks may be required on field trips if the venue requires masks.
  • Masks may be required for athletics if we travel to a school district or sports facility who requires them.
  • Individuals who test positive will continue the protocol of quarantining for five days and will be required to wear a mask at school for five additional days.
  • Positive cases will continue to be reported to the DPH.
  • As already established, contact tracing need not continue.
  • Schools must reinforce the responsibility of parents to monitor for COVID-like symptoms; if symptoms are present, they must stay home.
  • If students, faculty, or staff have mild symptoms but not the constellation of COVID symptoms, and feel well enough to come to school, they should wear a mask to protect others.
  • Regardless of parental mask choice or vaccination choice, every student will be treated with mutual respect and kindness.
  • Families do not need to justify their choice whether to have their child masked or not masked; their reasons are their own and will not interfere with their child's education.
  • Students will not be segregated or separated by barriers during the school day.
  • The Archdiocese reserves the right to reverse or suspend this decision on a school-by-school basis should there be a spike in cases within a school.

We will continue to monitor positive cases and adjust this policy if needed. In the interim, may we all be thankful that we seem to be moving in a better direction.

Peace and blessings,

Sean P. Brennan ’85

News from the Hill - January 6, 2022

Dear East Catholic Family,

Due to the impending snow tomorrow, we are going to err on the side of caution and move our first review day to remote for everyone. We hope to have another opportunity to have a traditional snow day this winter, but in order to stay on track with mid-term exams next week, we will have all review classes (blocks H, G, F, E) from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. tomorrow, January 7, 2022 (see schedule below). Our first two exams (blocks H and G) will take place on Monday, January 10. A few reminders:

  • Please arrive by 7:45 a.m. and report to your H-block exam
  • Prayer and announcements will begin at 7:55 a.m.
  • H-block exam will begin at 8:00 and end at 9:30 a.m.
  • There will be a break from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
  • G-block exam will begin at 10:30 a.m. and end at 12:00 p.m.
  • Students only need to be at school for scheduled exams
  • Please be in school uniform
  • A reminder that the Cafeteria is not serving food, so plan accordingly
  • Students may not leave and come back between exams
  • Friday, January 7 (11:30 a.m. dismissal)
  • Remote Review for classes H, G, F, E
    • 7:32 – 8:24 a.m. Day 2, Period 1 (H)
    • 8:34 – 9:26 a.m. Day 1, Period 7 (G)
    • 9:36 – 10:28 a.m. Day 1, Period 6 (F)
    • 10:38 – 11:30 a.m. Day 1, Period 5 (E)

Good luck on your exams! Study hard!

Sean P. Brennan '85

News from the Hill - December 21, 2021

Dear East Catholic Family,

As many of you know, we are experiencing a spike in positive COVID cases after a long stretch of keeping the cases extremely low. This spike has us concerned and in order to minimize exposures, we have made the decision to go remote for the remaining two days before break (schedules below). Faculty members will be in the school building running their remote lessons from their classrooms. Students should log on from home at the designated times on the schedules. Attendance will be taken.

Due to a high percentage of student-athletes being vaccinated, we have not encountered a single positive case among our varsity athletes; therefore, from December 22 through January 2 all varsity practices and games for all sports will continue over break. Junior varsity and freshman teams will not practice or play until after break. All sports scheduled for today will remain as planned.

As a reminder we need to tighten up on our protocols:

  • Please keep your student home if:
    • He/she does not feel well/is symptomatic;
    • He/she has a positive COVID test;
    • He/she has had a known exposure (and get him/her tested).
  • Please notify Diane DeCarlo (and provide a copy of the vaccine card) when your student has been vaccinated
  • Please consider getting your student vaccinated if you have not done so already.
  • Please properly wear masks as often as you possibly can. It appears that the vast majority of spread is happening outside of school.
  • If your student tests positive over break, please notify Jan Reilly via email and Diane DeCarlo, RN via email.

I hope you all understand that we do not make moves like this unless we see it as necessary. I also remind you all that school offices will be closed from 11:30 a.m. on December 23 through January 2. God willing, we will see you all back at school on Monday, January 3.

Wishing you all a blessed Merry Christmas and a happy and safe new year!


Sean P. Brennan ‘85

December 22, 2021, Bell Schedule
Dismissal 2:00 p.m.
Day 8

  • Period 1 (B): 9:00–9:32 a.m.
  • Period 2 (C): 9:37–10:09 a.m.
  • Period 3 (D): 10:14–10:46 a.m.
  • Period 4 (E): 10:51–11:22 a.m.
  • Break: 11:25–11:35 a.m.
  • Period 5 (F): 11:38 a.m.–12:10 p.m.
  • Period 6 (G): 12:15–12:46 p.m.
  • Period 7 (H): 12:51–1:23 p.m.
  • Period 8 (A): 1:28–2:00 p.m.

December 23, 2021, Bell Schedule
Dismissal 11:30 a.m.
Day 1

  • Day 2 Period 1 (H): 7:32–8:00 a.m.
  • Day 1 Period 1 (A): 8:05–8:30 a.m.
  • Day 1 Period 2 (B): 8:35–9:00 a.m.
  • Day 1 Period 3 (C): 9:05–9:30 a.m.
  • Day 1 Period 4 (D): 9:35–10:00 a.m.
  • Day 1 Period 5 (E): 10:05–10:30 a.m.
  • Day 1 Period 6 (F): 10:35–11:00 a.m.
  • Day 1 Period 7 (G): 11:05–11:30 a.m.

    News from the Hill - December 17, 2021

    Dear East Catholic Family,

    This is the final News From the Hill newsletter for 2021. With one short week left before Christmas break, the end of the second quarter is quickly coming to a close. Let’s all encourage our students to finish strong. When we return from break, we will only have one week of classes before mid-term exams. Please see the exam schedule below. In the interest of alleviating some of the stress and anxiety around exams, we will have two review days – Friday, January 7 and Wednesday, January 12. We have also extended the break between exams to one hour to avoid rushing from one exam to another.

    The school was busy on Thursday evening. We welcomed a number of our donors to a reception thanking them for their generous support of our school. Thank you to our advancement office for organizing and to our cafeteria staff for a delicious meal. All three boys’ basketball teams faced off against Glastonbury. Our fans did a great job cheering appropriately, and the varsity team got a win in their home opener. Upstairs, we were treated to an art show and a Christmas concert. Thanks to the entire Art Department for an entertaining and festive evening! It was great to see and hear our talented students.

    On December 9, we welcomed a number of community organizations to our campus for a meeting to try and build bridges between our school and the greater community in which we live. Members of Veterans for Black Lives Matter, the African American and Black Affairs Council, PowerUp, and the Universalist Unitarian Society, joined students, parents, faculty, and staff from East Catholic for an honest discussion about what we are doing here at our school to create a welcoming environment for all. Thank you to all who participated in this productive and forward looking meeting.

    Please make note that all school offices will close from 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, December 23 until Sunday, January 2. School reopens on Monday, January 3.

    Let me take this opportunity to wish all of you a blessed Christmas and happy new year. We are very fortunate to be part of the East Catholic family. Enjoy the break, and we will see you in 2022!

    As always, please reach out to me with any good news, questions, or concerns.

    Peace and Blessings,

    Sean P. Brennan ‘85

    News from the Hill - December 3, 2021

    Dear East Catholic Family,

    I hope you all had a relaxing and enjoyable Thanksgiving. As the first week of Advent comes to a close, we have focused our prayers this week on hope. One of East Catholic’s greatest traditions is our daily third-period prayer. Mr. Urbanski and selected students take a few minutes each day to remind our community that we are in the presence of a kind and loving God. They also read any intentions that anyone submits, and the student reads a prayer. Thank you to everyone who helps to keep this great tradition going.

    Congratulations to the football team for a hard-fought 21 to 13 win on Thanksgiving Day! The Archbishop’s Cup has returned to East for the next year! Winter sports are off and running. Best of luck to all of our teams!

    As always, life on the Hill is pretty busy. We will have an all-school Mass on Wednesday, December 8, celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. There is an 11:30 a.m. dismissal on December 9, so the faculty and staff can have some time for some professional development. Also, on the ninth, members of our Students of Color Union, DEI Committee, Eagles Take Action, and Families for Equity groups will be meeting with community organizations to further our work on making East Catholic the most welcoming school it can be. I will report back to you all on how the meeting goes. December 16 will be a busy evening on campus with the art show, the Christmas concert, a donor reception, and the home opener for the boys basketball team. Hope to see many of you there. See below the COVID protocols for winter sports.

    We have 14 school days left before Christmas vacation. Please remind students that this is a time to stay on top of their work and not get behind. When we return from break, we will only have one week of classes before mid-term exams.

    As always, please reach out to me with any good news, questions, or concerns.

    Peace and Blessings,

    Sean P. Brennan ‘85

    East Catholic – Winter Sports Spectator Guidelines

    We are so thrilled to be able to host spectators this year and not have any restrictions at this time. Each school will have different rules, so please look for communication from the sport-specific coaches for this information. These are our current guidelines, and we will update the teams and community if things should change.

    The first expectation we have for our Eagle supporters is to cheer in a sportsmanlike manner and only for our teams, please.

    Boys and Girls Basketball and Cheerleading in Saunders Gymnasium

    • Home and away fans are welcome to come watch the Eagles on campus.
    • All must be masked at all times.
    • We will charge for admission.
    • We will not have concessions for sale at this time.

    Boys and Girls Hockey

    • Home and away fans are welcome.
    • Masks must be worn by attendees per rink rules.
    • We will charge for admission.

    Indoor Track and Field

    • Spectator limits will be determined by the home site.
    • Masks to be worn by all spectators.

    Boys Swimming and Diving

    • Spectator limits will be determined by the home site (we cannot host any meets.)
    • Masks to be worn by all spectators.

    News from the Hill Letter - November 19, 2021 

    Dear East Catholic Family,

    It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week! Time seems to be flying by, but we are certainly staying busy on campus. With the first quarter behind us and the second quarter under way, students seem to be hitting a good stride.

    Congratulations to all of our fall sports teams! While most teams have completed their seasons, we still have a handful of our girls swim team who will be competing in the state open swim championships this weekend. Good luck to them! Our football team will also wrap up their season on Thanksgiving Day with a game at Northwest Catholic at 10:30 a.m. Best of luck against the Lions!

    On a much more mundane note, here are some reminders about COVID-19 protocols and related information. To our best knowledge we have about 65% of our students vaccinated. Please be sure to send a copy of the student’s vaccination card to the school nurse, Diane DeCarlo, once completely vaccinated. We have only had four known positive cases thus far this year. If a student has an exposure to a positive case, unvaccinated or vaccinated students do not have to quarantine if they were properly masked. If a student has an exposure for more than 15 minutes, within six feet, without a mask, we will ask unvaccinated students to quarantine (vaccinated students do not have to quarantine).

    Usually, these exposures are at lunch or with sports teams. Also, if a member of your household tests positive for COVID-19, only unvaccinated family members need to quarantine. It is cold and flu season so please be aware of the following:

    • If your student is sick, please keep him/her home
    • Contact your provider and follow his/her instructions
    • Keep the nurse informed of any tests and the results

    Lastly, on the COVID-19 front, the CIAC has decided that winter sports participants do not have to wear masks when they are competing if they are vaccinated. Unvaccinated participants will need to mask. Players on the bench and fans in the stands must wear masks.

    At our parents’ association meeting on November 17, the topic of traffic came up. As we are all well aware, dropping off at school and picking up remains a challenge. Please consider the following:

    • The school day starts at 7:32 a.m., with a prayer and announcements for the day. Students should be in the school building by 7:20 a.m. at the latest in order to get where they have to go prior to 7:32 a.m.
    • If you are dropping off in the front circle, please pull as far around the circle as you can, please prepare to get out of the car in a timely fashion, and then drivers can leave safely
    • We are glad to have students who are learning to drive, but please do not swap drivers when dropping off in the front circle
    • Other drop-off spots include the gym entrance in back (especially if dropping off with athletic equipment) or the music wing entrance

    On behalf of the entire East Catholic Family, let me wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving filled with good memories of family and friends! Remember, with your stellar work with walk-a-thon, we have a bonus day off on November 29. See you all back at school on November 30!

    Peace and blessings,

    Sean P. Brennan ‘85

    News from the Hill Letter - November 5, 2021

    Dear East Catholic Family,

    Let me begin by thanking the entire East Catholic family for your active and generous participation in the 2021 walk-a-thon. We set a goal of $40,000 and actually raised $54,505! Because we crushed our goal, the students earned a day off from school on Monday, November 29! Additionally, it was great to see all of the school spirit throughout the final week. Thanks to Heidi Carlson, Sarah Lomazzo, and a cadre of parents volunteers. We could not have done it without you.

    On November 1, we had an all-school mass for All Saints’ Day. We are truly blessed to have Fr. Jaime as our chaplain. I always like to see our entire student body assembled to celebrate mass. It was also great to see our auditorium filled with prospective students and families for our fall open house. It was a wonderful night with over 160 students and over 450 people in attendance. Thanks to the admissions office, faculty, staff, Student Ambassadors, and parent volunteers for making it such a memorable and positive evening for our guests.

    Following the town hall we had last month, I wanted to update you on two new groups that have been created. We have formed a diversity, equity, and inclusion committee made up of faculty and staff. And we have also formed a Families for Equity Group for parents, guardians, and family members from the East Catholic community. I have met with both groups, and I want to thank all who have volunteered to work in these two groups. It is readily apparent that everyone involved is invested with making positive change for our school.

    Good luck to our volleyball team! After a much improved season, they have qualified for the state tournament. They will play their first round match versus Old Lyme on Monday at 6:00 p.m. Good luck also to our boys soccer team who qualified for the state tournament and will play Litchfield on Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. Go Eagles!

    As we head into next week, please note that there is no school and the offices will be closed on Thursday, November 11 in recognition of Veterans Day.

    As always, I welcome any input, questions, or concerns you may have.