Two local Catholic schools are closing as part of an overall shuttering of 20 schools, the Archdiocese of New York announced on Thursday, July 9.
St. Patrick’s Parochial School in Bedford and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School in Shrub Oak will be closing due to the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The decision, according to the archdiocese, stems from health concerns and financial “devastation” for families that resulted in low registration numbers for the fall. The organization also said that months of canceled public Masses, which help raise fiscal donations for schools and scholarships, left the archdiocese without the ability to support some of its schools.
“Children are always the most innocent victims of any crisis and this COVID-19 pandemic is no exception,” said Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan. “Too many have lost parents and grandparents to this insidious virus and now thousands will not see their beloved school again. I’ve kept a hopeful eye on our schools throughout this saga and my prayers are with all of the children and their families who will be affected by this sad news. Given the devastation of this pandemic, I’m grateful more schools didn’t meet this fate, and that Catholic schools nearby are ready to welcome all the kids.”
The closures will impact approximately 2,500 students and 350 staff members.
The closures will help strengthen the overall financial stability and “strengthen the vitality of New York Catholic schools for decades to come,” according to a statement from the archdiocese.
“The reality of these schools being lost is painful and it was only accepted reluctantly after a detailed study was conducted of their respective fiscal standing in the wake of the coronavirus public health crisis,” said Michael J. Deegan, superintendent of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New York. “I have been a Catholic school educator for more than 40 years, and could never have imagined the grave impact this pandemic has had on our schools. If more assistance is not forthcoming in the longed-for HEROES Act now before Congress, I am afraid even more might close. This is a very sad day for everyone in the extended Catholic school community. I send my love and prayers to the families, teachers, principals and staff of the affected schools.”
The announcement by the archdiocese said the superintendent’s office will work with each affected family to try and help them find a neighboring Catholic school for the fall and provide information and answers to any questions about tuition, transportation or enrollment.
It also announced it will help the displaced staff, in partnership with the teachers’ union, and do its best in helping them find employment within the archdiocesan school system.
In addition to St. Patrick’s Parochial School, at 483 Old Post Road in Bedford, and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School, at 1375 East Main St. in Shrub Oak, the following Catholic schools will not reopen:
Corpus Christi School, Manhattan
Divine Mercy School, New Windsor
Holy Family School, New Rochelle
Nativity of Our Blessed Lady School, Bronx
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel-St. Benedicta School, Staten Island
Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, Pelham Manor
Our Lady of Pompeii School, Manhattan
Our Lady of the Assumption School, Bronx
Sacred Heart School, Suffern
St. Ann School, Yonkers
St. John’s School, Kingsbridge, Bronx
St. Joseph-St. Thomas School, Staten Island
St. Luke School, Bronx
St. Paul School, Yonkers
St. Peter School, Poughkeepsie
Sts. Peter & Paul School, Staten Island
Sts. Philip & James School, Bronx
St. Thomas Aquinas School, Bronx
St. John School in Goshen will merge with Sacred Heart School in Monroe and the St. Stephen-St. Edward School, Warwick.
Representatives for St. Patrick’s and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton could not be reached by publication time.
Updates on the schools can be found at: https://catholicschoolsny.org/announcements.