Twenty schools in the Archdiocese of New York will not reopen in autumn because of the financial fallout caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Archdiocesan education officials also announced that three schools will merge.
A news release from the archdiocese cited the pandemic for sickening thousands of people with Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, and leading to massive layoffs that have left people without jobs for weeks, leaving them unable to pay school tuition.
The archdiocese also pointed to “a significantly low rate of re-registration” for autumn, and added that months of cancelled public Masses have resulted in a loss of parish contributions that traditionally help support the schools and also hurt fundraising for scholarships.
Meanwhile, in the neighbouring Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, school leaders said six schools will close there as of 31st August. They also attributed the closings to the pandemic.
“Children are always the most innocent victims of any crisis, and this Covid-19 pandemic is no exception,” New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan said. “Too many have lost parents and grandparents to this insidious virus and now thousands will not see their beloved school again.”
Cardinal Dolan added that his prayers were with the children and their families most affected.
“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,” he added.
Picture: Our Lady Queen of Angels School in the East Harlem section of New York City is seen in this 2015 file photo. On 9th July, the Archdiocese of New York announced that financial fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic is forcing it to close numerous Catholic schools. The East Harlem school is not among them. The Diocese of Brooklyn, N.Y. also has announced school closures. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz).