Catholic Schools in Brooklyn and Queens Will Remain Open
The Superintendent of Catholic Schools for Brooklyn and Queens today has announced that all 69 schools and academies will remain open and continue to provide in-person learning, irrespective of any impending decision pertaining to the status of New York City public schools.
Catholic schools in the Diocese in Brooklyn and Queens have provided safe, five days a week in-person learning since beginning this school year, as scheduled, on September 9. The Superintendent has also requested the Department of Education’s Office of Non-Public Schools continue to provide services for Catholic school students, which they are entitled to, including school nurses, transportation, and food, if public schools are to close.
Since September, our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools have been open and operating safely and efficiently. Thank you for your support in ensuring our guidelines for health and safety have been followed. Every person in our extended Catholic Academy and Parish Schools’ community has the responsibility to observe social distancing and wear a mask. This is what will keep the doors to our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools open; this is what will continue to keep everyone at our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools safe and healthy. Our principals, teachers and health aides have rigorously enforced health and safety protocols in our Catholic Academy and Parish Schools. For all this is being done on a daily basis, we are most grateful.
However, as students’ participation in outside extracurricular activities increases, the possibility of exposure to individuals who are positive for COVID may increase for both the students and their families. The same outcome can be true for attending any event with large numbers of people. This past week we have seen a very slight uptick in positive cases, and every positive case has been traced back to exposures at gatherings, parties, and events outside of the Catholic Academy/Parish School. We are sending this letter as a stark reminder COVID protocols do not end at the end of the school day and/or take the weekends off!
With that being said, it is crucial that every family completes the daily self-screening checklist, prior to sending their children to the Catholic Academy/Parish School.
If you can answer YES to any of the questions, your child may NOT enter the Catholic Academy/Parish School building. You MUST contact a health professional for guidance and notify the Catholic Academy/Parish School principal.
As a reminder, the questions are: 1) If your child has any of the following symptoms, that indicates a possible illness, which may decrease the student’s ability to learn and put them at risk for spreading illness to others. Does your child have any of these symptoms?
-Temperature 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit -Sore Throat -New uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing (for students with chronic allergic/asthmatic cough, a change in their cough from baseline) -Diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain -New onset of severe headache, especially with a fever -Shortness of breath Fatigue -Muscle or body aches -New loss of taste or smell -Congestion or runny nose -Nausea or vomiting
2) To the best of your knowledge, in the past 14 days, has your child been in close contact (within 6 feet for at least 10 minutes) with anyone who has tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19?
3) Has your child or a member of your household traveled internationally or from a state with widespread community transmission of COVID-19 per the New York State Travel Advisory in the past 14 days.
According to the New York State Department of Health, your child will need to receive a note of medical clearance and a negative PCR COVID test to return to school, should they develop any symptoms or be sent home from school.
What else can we all be doing to maintain a safe environment for all? We can limit our exposure to large groups of people, continue to practice good hand hygiene, have a supply of masks on hand so that the fabric masks can be washed daily, and ensure everyone in your family receives a flu shot and all immunizations are kept up-to-date.
We truly appreciate everyone’s honesty, cooperation and dedication, to keeping our schools safe and healthy places of learning. During the month of the Most Holy Rosary, we continue to entrust our students, teachers, principals and staff to our Lady; the cause of our hope and joy.
Sincerely, Thomas Chadzutko, Ed.D. Superintendent ~ Catholic School Support Services
Our Catholic Academy and Parish Schools are preparing to reopen for classes on Sept 9th. Most will be able to accommodate full day in-person classes, meeting health and safety guidelines. Some will operate on a hybrid, and there is full distance learning option available. Your local school has, or will be holding information sessions. Please contact your school or Principal with questions and we look forward to the 2020-21 academic year!
In recent weeks we have asked you to contact your Members of Congress in support of Catholic schools – and thanks to you, almost 100,000 messages were delivered! Your work has paid off. We have a newly introduced emergency school choice bill: The School Choice Now Act – but we are not near the finish line just yet, and we can’t stop now!
Dear Parents and Guardians of Catholic Academy and Parish School Students,
Catholic Academies and Parish Schools, within the Diocese of Brooklyn are planning to open in September! The Office of the Superintendent Re-Opening Task Force continues to work tirelessly to ensure that our students, faculty and staff remain healthy and have access to the most current information. Moreover, the Diocese of Brooklyn Re-Opening Task Force, led by Chief Esposito, has been most impressed with the thoroughness of the Office of the Superintendent’s Task Force’s comprehensive plan for a successful safe opening of our school buildings this Fall.
Principals have been working diligently, planning for a September re-opening. The New York State Education Department just recently shared the framework for school reopening plans with formal guidance. This framework will be disseminated later this week and will serve as a roadmap, providing schools with guidelines, expectations and mandates, to safely open our schools this fall. We also anticipate receiving information shortly from the New York State Department of Health and the Board of Regents. The Office of the Superintendent Re-Opening Task Force will continue to share all information with our schools.
Governor Cuomo will be informing us of his final decision on school openings, during the week of August 1-7. In anticipation of schools re-opening, please know there are essential elements included in all the re-opening plans being developed:
Our goal for opening schools is a 5-day a week, in-school model, ensuring that as many students, using social distancing, can safely be in our buildings. We are aware that many buildings cannot accommodate their total student population, in a socially distant way, for a full 5 days. Plans are being developed by principals, using alternative scheduling; hybrid learning, combining in-person and remote learning.
We are deeply committed to ensuring that each Catholic Academy and Parish School continue to provide a loving, nurturing Catholic School environment. We will stand firm on continuing academic excellence. Social-emotional learning and mental well-being has been and will continue to be a priority.
The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff will continue to be our number one priority, with enhanced cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing protocols, and the implementation of student and faculty wellness checks and symptom screening.
We have and will continue to advocate for the many resources our students are entitled to under State and City law, as well as through the local school districts. We will continue to stress that all public-school districts provide a nurse/medical professional to our schools and provide transportation for eligible students. Unfortunately, at this time, we are uncertain if they will be able to fulfill these requirements. We will continue to be persistent in engaging local school districts and lobbying for our students. Further updates on these issues will follow.
We have studied the re-opening plans from around the world, and across our country. We have worked collaboratively with Principals, Pastors and Academy Boards, to envision a re-opening plan that is safe and strong in academics and is Christ-centered.
As we continue to plan for September 2020, we must remember that all plans are based upon information we have presently received, never looking to compromise the health and safety of all. We will continue to work and plan, accepting changes with patience and common sense.
We thank everyone for their continued support through these unpredictable times and continue to ask for God’s blessings.
The Diocese of Brooklyn Office of the Superintendent – Catholic School Support Services today announced six Catholic academies, located in Brooklyn and Queens, will permanently close, effective August 31, 2020. The devastating effects of the COVID-19 crisis on enrollment and finances, an issue faced by many Catholic schools in the region and across the country, made it impossible for them to reopen for the coming school year.
The following Catholic academies will not reopen:
Queen of the Rosary in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
St. Gregory the Great in Crown Heights/Flatbush, Brooklyn
Our Lady’s Catholic Academy in South Ozone Park, Queens
Our Lady of Grace in Howard Beach, Queens
Holy Trinity Catholic Academy in Whitestone, Queens
St. Mel’s Catholic Academy in Whitestone, Queens
Collectively, these schools have
seen a decline of enrollment over the last five years, but the registration
totals for the upcoming school year are down significantly, largely due to the
massive unemployment and loss of business that has resulted from the COVID-19
pandemic. More than $630,000 in tuition bills for the past school year (2019-2020)
remains outstanding at these schools.
“This is an incredibly sad day
for our Catholic community to have to close these schools, but the devastation
caused by the coronavirus pandemic is insurmountable. The difficult decisions
come after the intense analysis of the financial picture of each academy,”
said Thomas Chadzutko, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools.
Every effort will be made to help
transition affected students and families to nearby Catholic academies. To help
the transition, the Diocese of Brooklyn, through the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Trust, will provide a one-time $500 financial grant for each child from a
closed school enrolling and attending in a new Catholic elementary academy or
school in Brooklyn or Queens this fall, as long as they have met all of their
financial obligations. For those who meet the financial eligibility, tuition
assistance is available through Futures in Education (www.futuresineducation.org).
Online Information meetings will
begin next week for parents at the academies scheduled to close. Administrators
and personnel from neighboring Catholic academies will be available virtually
to present their programs and answer any questions parents may have.
Despite the closures, there is great
optimism about the future of Catholic education in Brooklyn and Queens.
“Our smaller and caring community of schools has many advantages as
witnessed by how quickly we adapted to remote learning this spring. In grades
K-8, we were nearly one to one, students to devices with data plans, an
incredible feat which allowed for distance learning success in our schools. The
learning went on in our schools for six hours a day, so our children knew that
even though they were separated, they were not alone. Our devoted teachers and
staff supported every child with the tools they needed to continue their
education. We will continue to improve on this so we can be ready to handle any
challenge this coming fall,” said Dr. Chadzutko.