The Department of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has announced that Archdiocesan Catholic schools throughout Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties will open the 2020-2021 school year with distance learning due to the new state requirements for resuming in-person instruction. All three counties served by the Archdiocese are currently on the state’s monitoring list and are likely to remain on the list through August, thus Catholic schools in the Archdiocese will not be able to resume in-person instruction as previously planned.
“Though our return to our beloved campuses will be delayed for now, we will return,” emphasized Paul Escala, Senior Director and Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese, in a letter to Catholic school families, educators and pastors. (en Español). “Until then, our schools will open at a distance and our community will once again rise to the occasion.”
Mr. Escala highlighted the extraordinary efforts of educators and staff at all 265 Catholic schools in the Archdiocese to “prepare to welcome back students this fall.”
“We are so proud of their incredible efforts in planning for both in-person and distance, while simultaneously focusing on making campuses safe for students and staff,” added Mr. Escala. “Though the circumstances may not afford us the opportunity to start the school year in-person, our preparation efforts will pay-off when we are able to safely return to campuses.”
The criteria for the return to in-person instruction is based on the state’s local health jurisdiction (LHJ) monitoring list. If a county is placed on the state’s monitoring list, the schools in that county will not be permitted to conduct instruction in-person. Once the LHJ has been removed from the state’s monitoring list for 14 days, in-person instruction will be allowed to resume.
“We are being called to be hopeful, resilient and faithful people. As one Catholic community, God calls us to come together once again for our children during difficult times. We will band together as we did in the spring because our Catholic schools are a gift – it’s where our students learn and love, and our families grow in faith and community,” said Mr. Escala.
Archdiocesan schools transitioned to distance learning on March 17, 2020, as schools throughout the state were urged to close in response to the threat of COVID-19. Teachers, staff and leaders of the elementary and high schools of the Archdiocese responded rapidly to ensure that students they serve never stopped learning. Forty Archdiocesan schools served over 18,000 meals per day in response to the pandemic, with some schools serving 1,000 meals each day.