New York City's Catholic schools are planning to go further than the NYC public school system this fall by offering in-person, full-time classes five days a week.
The Diocese of Brooklyn announced Tuesday that its 66 Catholic academies and parish schools have submitted reopening plans to the New York State Department of Education, with most schools planning to have five day a week, 100% in-class instruction.
“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. We are prepared and excited for a full reopening in September. This may be slightly different school by school given the building footprint and student population. Some schools will need to use a hybrid model if they cannot meet the social distancing standards,” said Thomas Chadzutko, Superintendent of Schools, in a press release.
The schools had to decide on three options -- completely in-person with required masks and social-distancing; a hybrid model much like the blended learning model for New York City public schools that combines in-person instruction with remote learning; and completely remote learning.
The Diocese of Brooklyn also said they developed the “Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic Program,” billed as a “a new Diocesan-wide distance learning program created with a faculty focused exclusively on the development of an academically rigorous, Christ-centered remote learning program.”
The Archdiocese of New York announced last week that most of its 120 K-8 schools are also aiming to reopen in person five days a week as well, though several of its school buildings were not able to accommodate social distancing guidelines and will be on a hybrid model. The high schools have also submitted plans to reopen in person.
In July, Catholic leaders in New York City announced that several schools were closing due to declining enrollment -- two schools in Brooklyn and four schools in Queens, and two in Manhattan, six in the Bronx and three on Staten Island.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza have raised the possibility the closed Catholic schools could be used by the Department of Education for additional class space. “We've been working with the archdiocese and the diocese to use some former Catholic school buildings,” de Blasio said at his August 10th briefing, though no further details have been announced.