The Diocese of Brooklyn, which includes 69 elementary schools throughout Brooklyn and Queens, has announced its COVID-19 safety protocols for the beginning of the school year. Students are set to return to classes on September 8.
Although there is no official mandate in place from the city, the state Department of Health has recommended that schools adopt universal indoor masking based on guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As such, Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens will require all students, faculty and staff to wear masks.
“As the numbers of coronavirus cases continue to spike in children, and the overall numbers of hospitalizations in New York City are on the rise, this is the most responsible approach to take when we begin the new school year,” said superintendent Thomas Chadzutko. “I know the return to these safety measures is not the situation parents, teachers or students were hoping to be the case in the 2021-2022 school year, but we cannot ignore the trends,”
“As this academic year moves along, we will revisit these guidelines and adjust them accordingly,” he added. “As much as we want a return to normalcy in our classrooms, we want our students, faculty, and staff to be safe.”
In addition to masks, Catholic schools will continue to heavily encourage vaccinations, social distancing, and frequent hand washing and sanitizing. Parents of students will also be instructed to keep their children home if they are sick to prevent any potential outbreaks.
The schools will also continue to follow city and state guidelines regarding contact tracing, quarantine and isolation protocols.
“I have received my vaccination and continue to encourage others to do so as well,” said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio. “It is our hope that the COVID-19 vaccines will help bring an end to this terrible virus that has controlled our lives for much of the past year and a half.”
Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens opened on time last school year and offered in-person instruction five days a week.
Currently, New York City public schools are also planning on a return to full, in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year.