Students in Catholic schools in the Diocese of Wilmington will return to in-person instruction on Jan. 11 as previously planned, superintendent of schools Louis De Angelo said Jan. 6. That was the plan announced in mid-December, when schools closed earlier than planned for an extended Christmas break as the coronavirus pandemic worsened.
For many of the students, they will be in their classrooms full-time beginning Monday. All schools that have 250 or fewer students have been able to accommodate all of their students, as has Holy Cross School, which is larger than that but has separated groups of students into three separate buildings. For several larger elementary schools, along with the high schools, Monday will mark a return to hybrid learning.
De Angelo said the increase in numbers of those testing positive for COVID-19 would not change the diocese’s plans.
“There’s no plans to make any changes because of numbers increasing. The governor yesterday was advocating for kids to come to school because schools are safer places than other sites,” he said.
Indeed, at his weekly press conference on Jan. 5, Delaware Gov. John Carney advocated for students to return to school buildings on a hybrid basis.
“As we have said many times, we do not believe there is a public health reason to close schools,” Carney said. “We have spent the past four weeks helping schools try to address the operational challenges they are experiencing. And we can all agree that students learn best when they’re in school.”
Students in Catholic schools will return to buildings that have undergone deep cleaning over the Christmas holidays, the superintendent said. Teachers are back in the buildings this week to teach remotely and to get ready for the students to return.
“We feel that we’re in a good place right now to begin the new year,” he said.
De Angelo said Feb. 18 will mark the end of what the schools office has designated as “cycle three” for the academic year. Any changes to come after that date will be communicated to families by individual schools.
“If any schools are planning to make any changes in terms of bringing more students back, they would probably communicate that to their families after the 18th of January,” he said. “Most of our schools have everyone in. But the high schools and the five or six schools that are hybrid, they may decide to bring in” more students.