Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Ana Rodriguez Soto - Florida Catholic newspaper
MIAMI | An email sent to Catholic school principals in the archdiocese this week stated the only thing known for certain right now: Classes will resume as scheduled, Aug. 19, 2020.
Whether they'll resume in person or online is impossible to predict right now, said Kim Pryzbylski, archdiocesan superintendent of schools, who sent out the email July 21, 2020.
"We really can't give them an answer now because we don't know what's going to be happening in four more weeks," she said. "We have to leave it that way until we really know."
The uncertainty, of course, is due to the rising trend in coronavirus cases in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties, where the 47 Catholic elementary schools and 12 secondary schools are located. The archdiocese also has the Marian Center, a special needs school in Miami-Dade, and the ADOM Virtual Catholic School. Catholic schools in the archdiocese enroll about 33,000 students.
Many schools have been communicating with parents via social media or email this month, to let them know how they plan to physically re-open and what measures they are taking to keep children and teachers safe from exposure to the coronavirus.
"All schools are trying to work with the parents as best as they can to meet the students' educational needs. They're not only working with the parents but also the teachers," Pryzbylski said.
Her email asked the schools to "survey parents, if you have not done so already, to see who plans on attending via brick and mortar or if they are planning on having their child participate in their school (via a) blended/virtual model."
All schools have been asked to prepare two re-opening plans: Plan A is a brick-and-mortar re-opening and Plan B is a virtual re-opening. Some schools also are considering a plan C: a split between virtual and onsite instruction.
"We're putting out options and letting them decide what's best for their school community," Pryzbylski said, noting that Catholic schools have more flexibility than their public-school counterparts.
She reiterated however that, for now, only one thing is certain: "The first day of school will be Aug. 19, 2020."