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Classes to resume August 19

But that's the only thing certain as Catholic schools weigh online, in-person options

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.

PreK3 students at St. Mary Cathedral School work on a project in this file photo from 2017. No decision has been made yet on whether Catholic schools in the archdiocese will resume classes in person or online this fall in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The only thing certain is that classes will start Aug. 19, 2020.

Photographer: ROCIO GRANADOS | LVC

PreK3 students at St. Mary Cathedral School work on a project in this file photo from 2017. No decision has been made yet on whether Catholic schools in the archdiocese will resume classes in person or online this fall in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The only thing certain is that classes will start 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."

 

Comments from readers

Erica Wright - 07/31/2020 07:56 AM
I agree with Kelly and Ed, It is very hard on the parents to wait for the last minute. Every other state, who's schools start in Sept are already giving their plans for reopening. We know that the numbers are not going down, and yes the kids might not be as effected by the virus but they can still be carriers and some can still get sick. I do not think that one kid or teachers life lost is worth that. If the school had taken the time to put together a good plan over the summer than the students could be starting virtual and learning until it is then safe to return to the classroom. We know from watching other countries that if we stick to the strict lockdowns then we as a country can curb this spread, but we have not done this and we still keep trying to make life be normal. We are not in normal times, we need to remember that and do everything we can to protect the lives of students and teachers. By making us sign Assumption of Risk and waiver of Liabilities Relating to Covid 19 you are telling us as parents that you know it is not safe to return to the classroom. Never have I had to sign a form like this to send my kid to school. So just keep them virtual till it is safe to return to a more normal school life. Please read the article published in the NEW York Times this morning "The Risk that students could arrive at school with the coronavirus. " https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/07/31/us/coronavirus-school-reopening-risk.html This means that my daughter who goes to a catholic High school would have over 23 infected students at her school If they open in class now.
Annie - 07/29/2020 04:07 PM
I think that elementary schools should open. There has been some studies and even Doctor Fauci said that kids under 10 years old are not vectors. What’s the difference between a 10 year old and an 11 year old? Something to ponder. I don’t have school children and my son had to graduate virtually from high school last year. If my son would have to be in school I would probably be called a bad mom but he would definitely go. Kids need to socialize and learn on a one to one basis.
Ed - 07/27/2020 08:31 PM
As a parent, I think it would be reckless to put students and teachers in harms way, and ultimately take back any progress made when eventually a class or the school needs to shut down because someone came into infected. It would be reckless to open during the pandemic. I pray that Archdiocesan school make the responsible decision to start the year virtually just as broward and Dade public schools are.
Kelly - 07/23/2020 02:57 PM
I would like to say that by making a decision as counties make them, would give parents the time, should schools be virtual, to prepare and find help! By waiting last minute our options become limited and our employers may have a harder time assisting us! Also many of us working parents would be able apply for family cares act, only if schools close, and need the time to do so.
MARIA CORINA PARTIDAS - 07/23/2020 09:52 AM
good morning: i have a question?? are you going to supervised the school to check if the kids are 6 feet apart in the class rooms??. this is my concern and keep the school desinfect everyday. Thanks.

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