The Office of the Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Brooklyn, which includes 69 elementary schools in Brooklyn and Queens, announced that COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place when schools open on Wednesday, Sept. 8.
In the absence of a mandate, the New York State Department of Health recommends school districts adopt universal indoor masking for all based on guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Therefore, Catholic academies and parish schools in Brooklyn and Queens will require all students, faculty and staff members to wear masks beginning on the first day of school.
Additionally, school officials will continue to encourage vaccinations, social distancing, hand washing and hand hygiene. Schools will maintain the rigorous daily cleaning and sanitizing of facilities, and they’ll use enhanced ventilation.
Parents will be reminded to keep their child home from school if they are sick, and their child will be required to receive medical clearance from a healthcare provider so that they can safely return to in-person instruction.
The Catholic academies and parish schools will also continue to follow city and state guidelines regarding contact tracing, quarantine and isolation protocols.
“As the numbers of coronavirus cases continue to spike in children, and the overall numbers of hospitalizations in New York City are on the rise, this is the most responsible approach to take when we begin the new school year,” said Superintendent Dr. Thomas Chadzutko. “I know the return to these safety measures is not the situation parents, teachers or students were hoping for in the 2021-2022 school year, but we cannot ignore the trends.”
According to Chadzutko, if the schools are successful in preventing a further increase of cases as the academic year moves along, they will revisit the guidelines and adjust them accordingly.
“As much as we want a return to normalcy in our classrooms, we want our students, faculty and staff to be safe,” Chadzutko said.
While he has received his vaccine and continues to encourage others to do so as well, Nicholas DiMarzio, bishop of Brooklyn, said it is their hope that the COVID-19 vaccines will help bring an end to “this terrible virus that has controlled our lives for much of the past year and a half.”
Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens, in adherence to strict guidelines, opened on time for the 2020-21 school year, and were able to offer five-day-a-week instruction. Enrollment increased in nearly 40 percent of the schools last year in grades K-8.
To learn more about Catholic Schools in Brooklyn and Queens, visit catholicschoolsbq.org.