Syracuse Diocese plans to reopen all schools for in-person learning, five days a week

Back to School

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Following Onondaga County’s release of formal back to school guidance, superintendents met with the County Executive’s office to solidify plans to get students back in the classroom safely, five days a week.

Last year, when many schools across Central New York went virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese schools stayed open. For superintendent, William Crist, the goal is the same this year.

When we had this challenge a year ago, we worked tirelessly last summer to put plans in place that we were going to be able to open. It’s the the same way that we’re going to open in a few weeks.

William Crist, Superintendent, Syracuse Diocese Catholic Schools

The reopening guidance is fluid, but all diocese students will be required to mask up in the classroom, follow social distancing guidelines and sanitize on a regular basis.

Crist said the 11 schools in Onondaga county will comply with the county’s recent executive order which requires all school teachers, staff and faculty to either show proof of vaccination or get tested for coronavirus on a weekly basis.

We’re obviously going to comply with that and do everything we can to provide that for our faculty. We haven’t taken that step as of yet, but that’s something that needs to be worked on in the next couple of weeks.

William Crist, Superintendent, Syracuse Diocese Catholic Schools

Across the Syracuse Diocese, all 21 schools are located in seven different counties.

Superintendent Crist said he and his administration are offering blanket guidance to every school, but the decision is in the hands of the school principals based on the levels of COVID-19 in their respective county.

“What happens in Onondaga county isn’t necessarily what happens in Chenango or Broome county,” — William Crist

“Our principals are in the process of putting together those plans that are specific and localized based on where they are and how functioning,” Crist explained.

Each school will address its own specific needs, but Crist is hoping to make the ‘unknowns’ of the 2021-2022 school year easier for everyone.

We’re ringing the bell for the second time that we’ve done this a year ago with pretty good fidelity. We were successful to the extent that we were able to bring our students back five days a week and in-person throughout the 2021 school year. We believe we’re going to be successful in doing that for the 2021-2022 school year.

William Crist, Superintendent, Syracuse Diocese Catholic Schools

Students across the Diocese will not have the option to learn remotely this year. Crist says if there is a needs to switch to remote learning at any point this year, the Diocese will make the decision on behalf of an entire classroom or school.

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