COVID’s Impacts Prompt NY Archdiocese to Shutter 20 Schools, Merge Three Others
John Jordan | July 2020
NEW YORK—Blaming health concerns and the devastating financial impacts felt by Catholic families and the Archdiocese, the Office of the Superintendent of Schools of the Archdiocese of New York announced today that 20 Catholic schools in New York City and the Hudson Valley will be unable to reopen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Superintendent of Schools Michael J. Deegan warns that archdiocese may be forced to close additional schools if assistance is not provided in the HEROES Act now before Congress.
In addition to the 20 school closures, two Orange County Catholic schools will merge into a third school as part of the program. The archdiocese states that health concerns and mass unemployment have resulted in families’ being unable to pay their current tuition. The pandemic has also caused what the archdiocese terms as “a significantly low rate of re-registration for the fall.” Other contributing factors in the decision include months of cancelled public masses and fundraising for scholarships and a loss of parish contributions that traditionally help support the schools.
“Children are always the most innocent victims of any crisis, and this COVID-19 pandemic is no exception,” said Timothy Cardinal Dolan Archbishop of New York. “Too many have lost parents and grandparents to this insidious virus, and now thousands will not see their beloved school again. I’ve kept a hopeful eye on our schools throughout this saga and my prayers are with all of the children and their families who will be affected by this sad news. Given the devastation of this pandemic, I’m grateful more schools didn’t meet this fate, and that Catholic schools nearby are ready to welcome all the kids.”
It is expected these changes will impact approximately 2,500 students and 350 staff. The cost cutting measures the archdiocese says will have the positive effect of ensuring the overall fiscal stability and strengthen the vitality of New York Catholic schools for decades to come.
“The reality of these schools being lost is painful, and it was only accepted reluctantly after a detailed study was conducted of their respective fiscal standing in the wake of the coronavirus public health crisis,” said Superintendent of Schools Michael J. Deegan.
He added, “I have been a Catholic school educator for more than 40 years, and could never have imagined the grave impact this pandemic has had on our schools. If more assistance is not forthcoming in the longed-for HEROES Act now before Congress, I am afraid even more might close. This is a very sad day for everyone in the extended Catholic school community. I send my love and prayers to the families, teachers, principals and staff of the affected schools.”
The following Catholic schools will not reopen:
Corpus Christi School, Manhattan
Divine Mercy School, New Windsor
Holy Family School, New Rochelle
Nativity of Our Blessed Lady School, Bronx
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel-St. Benedicta School, Staten Island
Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, Pelham Manor
Our Lady of Pompeii School, Manhattan
Our Lady of the Assumption School, Bronx
Sacred Heart School, Suffern
St. Ann School, Yonkers
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School, Shrub Oak
St. John’s School, Kingsbridge, Bronx
St. Joseph-St. Thomas School, Staten Island
St. Luke School, Bronx
St. Patrick School, Bedford
St. Paul School, Yonkers
St. Peter School, Poughkeepsie
Sts. Peter & Paul School, Staten Island
Sts. Philip & James School, Bronx
St. Thomas Aquinas School, Bronx
In addition, the St. John School in Goshen will welcome the school communities of the Sacred Heart School in Monroe and the St. Stephen-St. Edward School in Warwick to its campus.
The Office of the Superintendent of Schools will work closely with each affected family, to help find a neighboring Catholic school for the fall. The directors of enrollment will provide each family with information and answer any questions that they may have, whether they are about enrollment, transportation or tuition. The best resource for continually updated information will always be https://catholicschoolsny.org/announcements.
The superintendent’s office is dedicated to working in coordination with the teachers’ union to do everything it can to help faculty of the affected schools to find employment within the Archdiocesan school system.
At press time it was not known how the archdiocese plans to utilize the shuttered schools or if they plan to put the properties on the market for lease or sale.
Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New York currently serve more than 60,000 students from Pre-K through 12th grade at 191 schools across the counties and boroughs of New York.