Brooklyn, Queens Catholic schools prepare for September reopening


A majority of Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens are preparing to offer students in-person classes five days a week, implementing social distancing in the classrooms and throughout the schools, according to plans filed by the Brooklyn Diocese with New York state.

The Diocese of Brooklyn announced on Aug. 18 that each of its 66 Catholic academies and Parish schools have submitted their 2020-2021 reopening plans to the New York State Department of Education. 

“We are pleased with the governor’s recent announcement regarding the reopening of schools.  This is a great first step in the right direction to helping our children safely return to the classroom,” said Thomas Chadzutko, Ed.D., superintendent of schools. 

The plans submitted by each school/academy to New York state presented one of the following three options: Plan A (100 percent in-person learning); Plan B (blended learning); and Plan C (100 percent distance learning). 

Under Plan A, mandatory face coverings will be required in school with mask breaks, hand and respiratory hygiene guidance and enforcement, signage throughout the buildings promoting hygiene, illness, mask and distance requirements.

There will be daily health screenings of all who enter the buildings per NYS guidelines, including temperature checks and testing/tracing policies in place per Department of Health guidelines. 

The Plan B hybrid learning model — which varies by school — could be three days in school and two days of remote learning from home, according to the Diocese.

There will be remote learning with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous with instruction sessions led by teachers of the students’ Catholic academy or Parish school.   

Meanwhile, Plan C introduces the Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic Program, created with a faculty focused exclusively on the development of an academically rigorous, Christ-centered remote learning program. 

According to the Diocese, this is an additional option to ensure instructional equity for those who choose 100 percent remote learning. 

Of the plans submitted, a majority of the 66 Diocesan schools and academies aim to open for instruction under Plan A, with the flexibility to adopt Plan B or Plan C quickly if COVID-19 cases arise.

“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,” Chadzutko said. “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.” 

The health of the students, faculty and staff, remains the top priority, so enhanced cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing protocols will be in place at all school buildings.

The reopening plans for each school can be found on the individual school website. Additionally, parent meetings will take place this week, via Zoom, to review and discuss the plans.

This story first appeared on QNS.com.