Catholic schools across New York City welcomed back students on Wednesday with some new health and safety protocols in place.
All students, staff, and administrators will be required to wear masks while indoors. Students will be placed in pods every day in order to lower the chance of potentially exposing adults and children to COVID, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of New York. Pods will stay together throughout the day in the same classroom and other parts of school buildings as much as possible with teachers walking to and from classrooms instead of students.
“It is important that we recommit to working together for the health and well-being of all, as we did so well last year. We want a return to normalcy in our classrooms as soon as reasonably possible, but as the Coronavirus and the Delta variant continue to persist among our population, our first priority is to keep our students, faculty, and staff safe,” said Diocese of Brooklyn Superintendent Dr. Thomas Chadzutko.
Students will also eat breakfast in their classrooms which will be cleaned daily. School officials will work to maintain at least three feet of distance between all student cohorts and students will be kept six feet apart in classrooms, the guidelines add.
Like last year, students and parents will need to submit to regular temperature checks and filling out a health questionnaire before being allowed to enter a school building.
Similar to New York City public schools, Catholic school officials will continue to encourage vaccine-eligible students to receive the inoculation. Catholic academies and parish schools will follow New York City and state guidelines in regard to contact tracing and quarantine and isolation protocols. Unvaccinated public school students are required to quarantine for 10 days if a COVID-19 case is detected in their classroom, according to City policy.
If City or state health officials require that any classroom or school be closed due to COVID, students will then transition to remote learning.
“We are excited for all of our schools to be open five days a week, for in-person instruction for all students ensuring social distancing can safely be maintained in our buildings under the direct supervision of a teacher,” shared Michael J. Deegan, superintendent of schools of the Archdiocese of New York. “Our number one focus continues to be offering an excellent academic program in a safe and nurturing environment.”