NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- Eight Catholic New Jersey schools will not reopen in the fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Archdiocese of Newark announced the decision Tuesday in a statement.
"In response to the urgent need to address enrollment loss and growing financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Schools of the Archdiocese of Newark has announced that five elementary schools will not reopen this fall and three elementary schools will consolidate with nearby school communities," the statement read. "The Office of Schools and the Finance Office of the Archdiocese have been monitoring and evaluating projected enrollment, increasing financial fragility, and the level of support these schools would require since they were already experiencing formidable challenges prior to the pandemic. Noting that funding resources for Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese were critically reduced since the outbreak of COVID-19 and that paid registrations for the 2020-2021 school year are dramatically reduced, the Office of Schools and Finance Office agreed that the current status of some schools is unsustainable."
The following schools will not reopen:
- Transfiguration Academy, Bergenfield
- St. Joseph Academy, Bogota
- The Academy of St. Mary, Rutherford
- St. Francis Xavier, Newark
- Ironbound Catholic Academy, Newark
The following school communities will consolidate:
- St. Joseph of the Palisades, West New York, will welcome the school communities of Mother Seton in Union City and St. Augustine School in Union City to their campus.
- St. Joseph the Carpenter, Roselle, will welcome Our Lady of Guadalupe in Elizabeth to their campus.
In accepting the recommendations, Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Newark stated, "I recognize that this news is profoundly painful for our students and their families, teachers and principals, school communities, and those who support Catholic education, as well as for our archdiocesan community. I extend my prayers and support to all those affected. Our schools represent communities that offer vital faith formation for children. The difficult decision to further consolidate our Catholic Schools follows considerable discussion and examination of their viability under the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Education remains a crucial element in the life and mission of this Archdiocese."
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, school principals, teachers, and school families were informed of the decisions through online meetings and email correspondence and will receive continuing support during this transition.
Officials say families affected by the closures are encouraged to enroll in nearby Catholic schools and are offered assistance with the transition, including tuition assistance for the 2020-2021 school year. Career resources and support, including assistance in identifying possible employment opportunities elsewhere in the archdiocese, will be provided for affected faculty and staff members.
Cardinal Tobin expressed the gratitude of the Archdiocese for the exceptional contributions of teachers, staff, principals, and pastors who dedicate themselves to educating students in the Catholic faith as well as the families and communities who work persistently in support of the archdiocesan schools.
"We pray for all those impacted by these trying circumstances and pledge ongoing support for those who need it," said Cardinal Tobin. "Together, we will find a sustainable model for Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Newark."
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