The Office of the Superintendent of Schools of the Archdiocese of New York today announced 20 Catholic schools will be unable to reopen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Three schools will merge. The coronavirus public health crisis has had a devastating financial impact on Catholic school families and the greater Archdiocese. Mass unemployment and continuing health concerns have resulted in families’ inability to pay their current tuition, and a significantly low rate of re-registration for the fall; while months of cancelled public masses and fundraising for scholarships have seen a loss of parish contributions which traditionally help support the schools.
“Children are always the most innocent victims of any crisis, and this COVID-19 pandemic is no exception,” said Timothy Cardinal Dolan Archbishop of New York. “Too many have lost parents and grandparents to this insidious virus, and now thousands will not see their beloved school again. I’ve kept a hopeful eye on our schools throughout this saga and my prayers are with all of the children and their families who will be affected by this sad news. Given the devastation of this pandemic, I’m grateful more schools didn’t meet this fate, and that Catholic schools nearby are ready to welcome all the kids.”
Much deliberation and analysis went into the final determination of which schools would not reopen. It is expected these changes, which will impact approximately 2,500 students and 350 staff, will have the positive effect of ensuring the overall fiscal stability and strengthen the vitality of New York Catholic schools for decades to come.
“The reality of these schools being lost is painful, and it was only accepted reluctantly after a detailed study was conducted of their respective fiscal standing in the wake of the coronavirus public health crisis,” said Superintendent of Schools Michael J. Deegan. “I have been a Catholic school educator for more than 40 years, and could never have imagined the grave impact this pandemic has had on our schools. If more assistance is not forthcoming in the longed for HEROES Act now before Congress, I am afraid even more might close. This is a very sad day for everyone in the extended Catholic school community. I send my love and prayers to the families, teachers, principals and staff of the affected schools.”
The archdiocese notes: “Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New York currently serve more than 60,000 students from Pre-K through 12th grade at 191 schools across the counties and boroughs of New York.”