Despite a four-month daily commute of 2,000 miles, between two islands, third-grader Brett Lawrence managed to attend classes every day and remained on track with his schoolwork.
Students at Catholic schools in Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx will no longer need to log in for remote learning this fall as the Archdiocese of New York plans to fully reopen for in-person instruction. The Diocese of Brooklyn announced on April 27 that it will fully reopen its 69 academies and schools again this fall for in-person learning with the option of enrolling their children in online-only instruction for the entire school year.
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Catholic school enrollment figures for the current school year — significantly impacted by the pandemic — dropped 6.4% or more than 111,000 students from the previous school year, which is the largest single year decline in almost 50 years.
Local school superintendents have asked that Catholic school educators be included when city public school educators eventually become eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This comes as vaccine distribution continues to be criticized for its slow rollout at the city and state levels.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan urged congressional leaders to include religious and other non-public schools in the COVID-19 financial aid package being finalized by lawmakers ahead of an expected vote on Dec. 18 — a week before Christmas.
Bishop Thomas A. Daly of Spokane says the COVID-19 pandemic “has given us a providential opportunity to really examine why we have our Catholic schools in the midst of so much illness.” Bishop Daly chairs the Committee on Education for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
After receiving word from the state that red zone schools could reopen, locally affected Catholic schools began working on their mandatory mass testing.
The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ education committee said Oct. 1 “it is unconscionable” the HEROES Act stimulus bill proposed in the House is excluding Catholic school students and their families.
With the new school year slated to begin next month, Catholic educators are preparing to adapt to the new norm of teaching with social distancing and face coverings. However, others already affected by this year’s estimated 140 closures across the country are trying to remain hopeful about their professions.