Catholic schools remain open as pandemic forces NYC public schools to go remote
The Diocese of Brooklyn made the decision to keep its doors open for in-person learning, despite the announcement of public schools going fully remote due to a rise in coronavirus cases.
Superintendent Thomas Chadzutko says he understands the risks of staying open.
"We decided to keep the schools open really because the children. The children really need to be in the learning environment, they need to be in school," he says. "Our teachers really have adopted to the in-person and remote, and while they could have shifted, it all comes back to the students that we want to make sure that we have the most stable environment."
Chadzutko adds that all 69 of their elementary schools, such as St. Athanasius Catholic Academy in Bensonhurst, are following proper safety measures to keep everyone safe.
"They have sanitizers outside of the rooms, everything is touchless, the desks are spaced," he says.
Since the elementary and secondary schools reopened in September, the superintendent says that 49 out of their 35,000 students, and 17 out of their 2,200 faculty members have had the virus— numbers that he says are relatively low.
He says they are hoping to keep those numbers low so that schools can stay open to avoid putting a burden on parents who may be caught in the dilemma of going to work or staying home.
As of this morning, Chadzutko says their schools have been getting a number of calls from parents looking to transfer their students from public schools to Catholic schools because the schools are still open.
He also says that Catholic schools will remain open unless they are mandated to close by the governor or the Department of Health.
The Archdiocese of New York also says its 172 schools will stay open, which span around nine counties, including the Bronx.