June 16, 2020  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

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 resume on-campus instruction this fall following guidance from California Department of Public Health.

“Over the past three months, we’ve come to appreciate how vital our Catholic schools are to our children. Our campuses serve as centers of love, learning, faith and community,” said Paul Escala, Senior Director and Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese in a letter to the entire Catholic school community (letter attached in English and Spanish). “Our goal is to strike a balance between preventing the spread of COVID-19 and providing our students with the education, nutrition, physical activity, and mental health benefits offered through the reopening of Catholic schools.”

“Indeed, we cannot eliminate the risk of COVID-19 in our communities, but we can reduce it by being flexible, consistent and vigilant. We must use every tool we have available to ensure our students are in school learning, growing and living in the safest environment possible,” wrote Mr. Escala.

Each of the Archdiocesan schools is unique and will customize a plan to meet their respective campus, student, teacher and staff needs. Expected protocols include: physical distancing, facial coverings, frequent hand washing, keeping students in class-level cohorts, use of outdoor spaces for instruction, and non-touch temperature checks upon entry, among others measures.

Additional details will be presented to school principals and presidents forthcoming which will be based on the state and county public health department’s guidance and input from school leaders.

To ensure the return to campuses is done with the highest attention to health and safety, the Department of Catholic Schools has been working with the State of California and vendors on the procurement of personal protective equipment.

“The lack of funds to purchase personal protective equipment should not prevent a school from opening in-person, nor students from learning together,” said Mr. Escala in the letter. “We have secured financial support from our philanthropic partners to ensure schools who serve our most impoverished students have the necessary personal protective equipment for their students and staff.”

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 have served more than 500,000 meals to children no matter which school they attend since the pandemic began, serving about 18,000 meals per day to children in low-income areas.

For more information about Archdiocesan Catholic schools please visit, https://lacatholicschools.org/.