While the city’s public schools are still grappling with how to get a mix of in-person and home remote learning off the ground, most of the 66 Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens will start the year with full-time classroom learning, officials announced Tuesday.
“We are pleased with the governor’s recent announcement regarding the reopening of schools,” said Thomas Chadzutko, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Brooklyn. “This is a great first step in the right direction to helping our children safely return to the classroom.”
Chadzutko said the parochial schools were given three options to choose from — a full-time format, a hybrid model and remote-only.
“The majority of proposals call for the reopening of Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens with five-day-a-week, 100-percent in-class instruction,” the diocese said in a statement.
Those schools, the diocese says, will introduce a raft of safety protocols to guard against the transmission of the coronavirus, including social distancing, regular temperature checks and mandatory mask usage.
Some schools also plan to install Plexiglas shields to better protect kids against infection and many will have air filters and purifiers in every classroom, administrators said.
Catholic schools are generally smaller than traditional public schools, a feature that can better facilitate social distancing.
The diocese said schools will have the ability to switch models if the circumstances of the pandemic shift.
“Our principals, teachers, boards and administrators have been hard at work to ensure all the health and safety protocols will be met at all our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools,” Chadzutko said. “We are prepared and excited for a full reopening in September.”
The return to full-time classes for Catholic schools provides a rare bit of uplifting news for the parochial sector, which has been beset by dropping enrollment and school closures across the city.
Catholic schools often provide an affordable alternative to public schools for working-class New Yorkers.
But with many parents losing their jobs amid the COVID-19 crisis, many have been unable to pay tuition costs and declined to renew their registrations, officials said last month.
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