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NYC Catholic schools remain open during pandemic; city to provide testing for kids, staff

Posted at 11:54 PM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-24 23:54:17-05

NEW YORK CITY — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio kept his promise to teachers, parents and students, closing schools after the city’s COVID-19 infection rate hit 3%. But unlike public schools, Catholic schools in New York City opened as usual in September — and remain open.

“We’re committed to keeping schools open for as long as we feel safe, and feel the children are safe and healthy,” said Superintendent of Schools of the Archdiocese of New York Michael Deegan.

He echoed a familiar refrain heard by some advocates — that schools are the right place for kids to be right now.

“Our children need to be in school. The social, emotional and spiritual well-being of our children need to be met in person,” he said Tuesday night.

According to the superintendent, of the 65,000 Catholic school students in New York in about 185 schools, very few have tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Our positivity rate is .003,” he said.

In those cases, positive tests were self-reported. Deegan wants testing to be a part of the plan, though.

“We want to do the testing,” said Deegan, calling on the city to handle testing in Catholic schools much like they've done in public schools.

A state supreme court judge ruled Monday that the city must now provide COVID-19 testing for Catholic school students and staff, too.

“Catholic schools want to stay open, want to follow the testing rules," Deegan said, urging the city to "do [for] the Catholic school children what you do [for] the public school children.”

We are waiting to learn more for DOE on how testing at Catholic schools will be done.

In the meantime, as New York City public schools remain in full-remote learning mode, the department of education launched a parent university Tuesday. It's an online platform that, according to the schools chancellor, will help connect families and support students.

For registration information about the Parent University, go to: https://parentu.schools.nyc