PORTLAND---The Office of Maine Catholic Schools is pleased to announce that schools will be open for in-school learning for the 2020-21 school year. Barring unforeseen developments, classes will be held five days a week with a full day schedule. Both before and after care at the schools will also reopen.
“In conjunction with the Diocese of Portland, our administrative team has been and will continue planning for a safe and efficient opening in the fall for our schools,” said Marianne Pelletier, superintendent of Maine Catholic Schools. “Following CDC guidelines for reopening schools, we are in the process of modifying our classrooms and facilities to successfully comply. Additional cleaning supplies have been ordered, and extra staff is being brought on to assist. We are confident that our schools' health protocols and processes will keep our school environments as healthy and as safe as possible for all members of our communities.”
The schools overseen by the Office of Maine Catholic Schools are All Saints School (St. John Campus/St. Mary Campus) in Bangor, Holy Cross School in South Portland, St. Brigid School in Portland, Saint Dominic Academy in Auburn and Lewiston, St. James School in Biddeford, St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick, St. Michael School in Augusta, and St. Thomas School in Sanford. If you would like to enroll or learn more about Catholic schools in Maine, visit www.mainecatholicschools.com.
In March, Catholic schools, along with all public schools across Maine, closed their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Two days later, Catholic schools in Maine successfully opened their virtual doors, providing a high-quality, distance learning program for all of their students across the state, efforts that were lauded by both school families and the wider community.
“Our Catholic schools continued to nurture the souls of our students while providing a comprehensive academic plan, building on their tradition of excellence,” said Pelletier. “The excellence was visible in both our attendance data and parent surveys. On average, 96% of our students participated daily in direct instruction offered virtually by their classroom teachers.”
Administrators at the schools believe and recognize that learning and formation are at their best when occurring in a classroom, but in acknowledgement that some families might not be comfortable sending their children to school during this academic year, Maine Catholic Schools is offering a solution.
“The Diocese of Portland is assisting each of our schools in developing a virtual, distance-learning option where interested families will still be able to receive instruction for children in core content areas while remaining connected to their local school community,” said Pelletier.
Due to social distancing requirements that will be in place in classrooms, families are encouraged to enroll their student or students soon.
“We recognize that parents are the first teachers of their children, and we fully understand that they are making a cognizant choice to offer their child a Catholic education,” said Pelletier. “Though there are many alternatives to Catholic education, there are no substitutes, and we thank everybody for their continued support and prayers.”