Philadelphia-area Catholic Elementary Schools Could Provide COVID-Era Educational Roadmap for Public Schools

Image via Kimberly Paynter, WHYY.
St. Pio Regional Catholic School in South Philadelphia.

Around 100 elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that have been open for full-time during the pandemic, with in-person education since the start of the school year could serve as a roadmap for public schools in the region, writes Avi Wolfman-Arent for WHYY.

Together, the schools host around 35,000 educators and children each day in their buildings. Since the start of the school year, they have reported just one suspected instance of in-school transmission of coronavirus.

The safety measures taken by the schools – which share the ageing infrastructure and similar financial situation as the region’s public schools – include keeping the windows cracked, a door open at each room and equipping each desk with a three-panel barrier. Protocols are also being implemented for bathroom use, hallway navigation, recess rotations, and meals.

The parochial system believes that through its bedrock mitigation strategies, it is keeping children safer in its schools than they would be outside in the world. And they plan to keep it that way.

“We’re gonna hold the course until June,” said Andrew McLaughlin, the archdiocese’s secretary of elementary education.

Read more about catholic elementary schools in the region at WHYY by clicking here.