As we celebrate Catholic Schools Week, Bishop Alfred Schlert expresses his sincere gratitude to teachers, administrators, staff, and volunteers who have worked diligently this year to continue in-person instruction.
“Our teachers and school staff are true heroes,” said Bishop Schlert. “They have worked courageously, through the pandemic, to provide Christ-centered education in our schools.
“The dedicated people who work in our elementary schools, our high schools, and our special learning centers are the front-line workers of Catholic education,” the Bishop said. “I applaud them, and I am profoundly grateful for their selfless service in our classrooms, especially during these difficult times.”
This was not only a great service to students, in terms of high-quality education, and in terms of preserving a meaningful routine, the Bishop said, but also a service to parents, who were able to return to work while their children were in school.
The Diocese’s 38 schools have provided in-person learning throughout the school year, at a time when many other school systems opted not to reopen classrooms. After announcing the in-person learning plan, many schools had waiting lists at the beginning of the school year.
Most diocesan schools were open for in-person learning five days a week, while still providing a virtual option for those families that preferred it. Others schools, where limited space did not allow for adequate social distancing, adopted hybrid schedules which combined in-person and virtual learning.
School staff worked closely with departments of health and the Office of Education, and in partnership with parents, to make schools as safe as possible. While there were occasional temporary moves to all-virtual learning, these caused relatively few disruptions to the school calendar.
Many diocesan schools applied for and received federal Paycheck Protection Program loans, helping them to retain teachers and staff during the pandemic.
Catholic Schools Week is a celebration of Catholic education, including enrolling students for next school year and introducing new students and parents to the benefits of attending a diocesan school.