Syracuse Catholic Diocese looks to bring students back to school 5 days a week

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Many area school districts are adopting a hybrid reopening plan. One in which some section of the student population will not only do some virtual learning, but will also attend class time in the school building.

For students in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, the plan is for them to be in school five days a week.

A recent survey sent to the parents of Catholic school students indicated that between 65 and 85 percent of parents want their kids to be in a classroom setting five days a week.

According to Superintendent Bill Crist, Our schools are much smaller in both population and the size of the school itself,” which he says makes it possible for them to rearrange classrooms to social distance. 

“Our high schools are still, I’ll say struggling a bit with some of the complexities of schedule, course offerings,” said Crist.

The Superintendent is confident they’ll work those details out.

Another thing administrators are fine-tuning is transportation, especially since so many students come from different districts.

“That’s a big hurdle for us, I mean, that’s clearly a challenge we’re working on and by law, our public schools are required to provide us transportation within that 15-mile radius,” said Crist.

The Diocese will also be leaning on parents to drive their kids to school when they can.

We are simply a partner with them as we go on this journey of education with their children. If in fact, the public school may not be open or may not be transporting students, we’re encouraging our families to begin to consider how they can transport their own child to and from school and/or carpool with families who are close in the community distance which they’re operating in now.

Superintendent Bill Crist

Parents will also be responsible for checking their child’s temperature each morning. He also knows it’s likely someone will contract COVID-19 at some point. When that happens, they’ll work with the local health department.

"[We would] find out the origin of how this happened and then how do we mitigate that going forward. So all that being said, that doesn't necessarily mean that one, the school would have to shut down. It may mean the school and the cohort or the group of students that child may have been interacting with would have to be quarantined or isolated for a period of time but it doesn't mean that we stop the business of education," said Crist.

Crist is also concerned about the aging workforce and wants to make sure they feel comfortable and safe interacting with students and other staff. “We’re working diligently to bring our schools back into a place where we all would want to be,” he said.

The Diocese is also working on the state education submission, which goes through the Office of Independent and Religious Schools. Superintendent Crist says the deadline is August 7.

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