The city’s Department of Education (DOE) has decided not to renew 105 “Pre-K for All” program applications for fall ’21 — including five programs in Catholic schools located throughout the Diocese of Brooklyn. The free, full-day “Pre-K for All” program has been one of the mayor’s signature initiatives since launching in 2014.
Inspired by Pope Francis, who recently declared 2021 as the “Year of Joseph” in his apostolic letter “Patris corde,” the Diocese of Brooklyn will be engaging in a “Year of Renewal for Catholic Education.” The overarching goal of the campaign is to strengthen the understanding that Catholic education is evangelization.
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.
On Nov. 18, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced New York City public school buildings would temporarily close and move to remote learning the following day. The percentage of citywide positive tests exactly hit three percent that morning, using a seven-day rolling average.
On Nov. 15, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Thomas Chadzutko reassured families, faculty, and staff that all 69 Catholic schools and academies across Brooklyn and Queens will remain open and continue to provide in-person learning — irrespective of any impending decision pertaining to the status of city public schools.
The opening of schools in the Diocese of Brooklyn went smoothly, according to Msgr. David Cassato, vicar for Catholic Schools.
The Diocese of Brooklyn remains confident in its reopening plan as it gets ready to begin the new school year Sept. 9. As it stands, Catholic schools that share services from the Department of Education (DOE) — like nurses, transportation, meals, and special education and related services — will not be affected by the City’s delayed opening.
Following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement on Aug. 7 that schools in New York are permitted to reopen next month, local Catholic schools are beginning to share their reopening plans. All plans must be approved by the State’s Department of Education and adhere to the safety guidelines and framework provided by the State’s Department of Health.
The Diocese of Brooklyn announced that it is closing six Catholic academies due to financial difficulties brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.