In a letter released today, Superintendent of Schools Michael J. Deegan wrote:

Since September, the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New York have been open for in-person instruction thanks to the unwavering partnership of our parents and students with our devoted pastors, principals, and teachers. Your faithful commitment to our rigorous protocols has ensured the continued health and safety of our school communities. Our children have been learning and have been safe!

I write to you with the good news for next year – September 2021.  My goal and that of the Health & Safety Task Force is to commit all our collective expertise and resources to ensure all our schools will be open for five full days a week of in-person instruction for all students beginning in September 2021. This will eliminate the need for hybrid learning or remote classes next school year.  Before and after care programs will also begin at the start of the new school year. This is, of course, as long as health directives from federal, state, and local county health agencies allow, and the community infection rate remains at appropriate levels.

I also write with an update for the remainder of this school year.  On March 19, 2021, the CDC released guidance allowing for the reduction of student desk spacing from 6 feet to 3 feet. After several weeks, the New York State Department of Health released similar guidelines on April 9. Following that, with the exception of New York City, which has not provided any guidance, local county health departments have allowed for the reduction. The vast majority of our schools will maintain the 6 foot guidelines because they are unable to meet the criteria mandated by the State and CDC to move to 3 feet.  Some of our schools are currently reviewing the possibility of instituting the 3 foot student desk spacing only if such a transition allows:

  • all students in a class or school to return for five full days of in-person instruction and eliminates hybrid learning.
  • six feet must be maintained during snack, lunch, or anytime a mask must be removed.

If reducing student desk spacing to 3 feet does not result in the above, the 6 foot parameter remains in place. Schools with the ability to transition to three feet student desk spacing approved by the Health & Safety Task Force will be required by the state to have parent meetings and revise and submit their plans to the local health department as well as the NYS Department of Health and State Education Department. This process takes time to implement. We are grateful to our parents for maintaining reasonable expectations throughout this process, knowing we are doing everything we can to return students to 5 days of instruction full time in September.

Effective immediately, Catholic school students who have been fully remote will no longer be required to present a negative PCR Test to participate in the reception of the sacraments of penance, communion, and confirmation, as well as participating in Graduation ceremonies in church.

Thanks to your commitment to Catholic education, our enrollment continues to rise. If you have not already reregistered for the next school year and guaranteed your child’s seat for September, please speak with your principal, who will be happy to provide more information. I encourage you to share September’s good news with family members, friends, and colleagues who may be considering one of our schools. Virtual tours are still available by following this link.

Thank you for your trust, support, and partnership during this last unprecedented and challenging year.

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