The Digital Classroom

June 9, 2020

Weekly Update for Families on Catholic Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Dear School Families,


The international COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating health impact across the globe. Further, here in the U.S., the shutdown of the economy triggered by the pandemic has caused levels of unemployment not seen since the Great Depression. This, in turn, has impacted the ability of families to afford tuition and enroll their children in our schools.


We are seeing record drops in enrollment in many Catholic schools. In some cases, particularly with schools with overall enrollment of less than 200 children, the drops in enrollment are resulting in the school not having adequate resources to continue operations next year.


To date, 11 schools have been closed or merged this year. Although reasons vary by school, the common reason is the schools simply don't have enough money to pay their teachers for the full school year.


When I started as Superintendent of Schools just over a year ago, I never envisioned facing this many school closures. I took this position because of a deep and abiding commitment to our faith, a desire to expand the reach of our schools, and to make sure that students from diverse families would benefit from a high quality Catholic education in schools with a strong sense of community.


When a school closes, it breaks my heart. I assure you that we never take this action lightly and only after exhausting every other option. This process is accompanied by prayerful discernment.

We know the devastating impact any school closure has. I pray that we get through this stronger, with the goal being the long-term sustainability of the schools that remain when we get to the other side of this pandemic.


Along with Cardinal Seán, I am spending a tremendous amount of time to convince the White House, U.S. Senate and U.S. House to approve funding for emergency scholarships over the summer to parents who want to send their children to Catholic and other nonpublic schools. We are trying to avert a further wave of closures. Action will likely be taken on another federal relief bill in the next 30 days or so.


In the meantime, we urge you to commit to enrolling your children for the next school year. All indications are that schools definitely will reopen on schedule this fall. Parents who are taking a "wait and see" approach are making it very difficult for school leaders to plan for next year.


If you are facing an unexpected financial issue in your family, please share that with your school leader to see if we can work something out for your family. We want your children to remain in our schools.


When the crisis first hit and all schools closed for public health reasons, the Catholic schools were the fastest to continue educating children — albeit remotely — and to stay engaged with you and your children. In Catholic schools, learning never stopped.


Spread the word of all the good that Catholic schools have done during this crisis so that your school's enrollment can remain strong.


And, most importantly, please pray daily for your Catholic school community.


In Christ,

Tom


Thomas W. Carroll

Superintendent of Schools

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston

Reflection of the Week

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Read Archbishop Gomez's full statement at www.usccb.org.

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley Statements

Statement on Racism: For four hundred and one years this land, which would become the United States of America, has had to deal with the evil and moral cancer that is racism. When the word racism is invoked it is often identified in personal terms: someone whose attitudes, convictions and actions target a group of other individuals because of color.

READ MORE...


Statement on the Killing of George Floyd: In Boston we are physically miles away from Minneapolis. But no American city, and, really, no American citizen is separated from what we have seen this week in vivid detail. The killing of George Floyd has catalyzed reactions across the nation. It has done so because it is not a singular, isolated event.

READ MORE...

Today's COVID-19 Briefings from the Government