According to the National Catholic Education Association, more than 200 schools were completely closed during the pandemic, and enrollment at the remaining 5,981 schools fell by 6.4%, or more than 111,000, in the 2020-2021 academic year. did.
The total number of registrants was about 1.63 million, down from the peak of over 5.2 million in the early 1960s.
On Wednesday, NCEA set up a new president, CEO Lincoln Snyder, who oversaw the school for the parish of Sacramento California, since 2015. Based on the parish trend, where registrants have increased by 3% since September 2019, Snyder is cautiously optimistic that many Catholic schools across the country can delay or stop the decline in registrants next year. doing.
According to Snyder, the financial difficulties caused by the pandemic forced some families to pull their children away from Catholic schools because they couldn’t afford to pay tuition. But in Sacramento, he said, these losses were offset by the influx of new families into Catholic schools, which were fascinated by the educational power of the system and dealing with pandemics.
“The infection rate was low … there were few recorded cases (of COVID-19) in the field,” he said. “We have shown that it is safe to have children in the class. It seems to be respected by parents.”
Of the 209 Catholic schools closed or integrated last year, the biggest impact was felt by urban communities and non-Catholic families, according to the NCEA. The latest annual report regrets that the closure of Catholic schools in poorly serviced areas will eliminate the “path of opportunity” for affected families.
To reduce such closures, NCEA will need the help of philanthropic donors, Snyder said.
In the diocese of major cities Las Vegas According to NCEA, this is the only school where enrollment in Catholic schools increased by more than 2% last year.
Conversely, Catholic school enrollment fell by more than 8% in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.
The overall decrease in enrollment was 8.1% at 4,812 Catholic primary schools and 2.5% at 1,169 secondary schools.
The reduction in school staff, including teachers and managers, was relatively modest at 2.3%, partly due to the availability of the Federal Paycheck Protection Program in the spring of 2020.
Mr Snyder said the NCEA did not know until September whether Catholic schools could collectively stop the decline in enrollment.
“I think it’s possible,” he said. “We are optimistic that Catholic schools can grow with the right resources and talent.”
The Associated Press’s religious coverage is supported by Lilly Endowment through The Conversation US. AP is solely responsible for this content.
The American Catholic School Association seeks a rebound from a tough year New York Sacramento American Catholic CEO
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