Sept. 14, 2021 By Allie Griffin
Catholic school students in Queens and Brooklyn have the option to learn fully online, the Diocese said Monday — the same day public school students returned to school with no remote option at all.
Elementary and middle school students at Catholic academies across Queens and Brooklyn can attend school remotely through St. Thomas Aquinas Online Catholic Academy. The school offers fully online classes for students in Kindergarten through eighth grade.
“The Diocese of Brooklyn has worked hard to provide this opportunity to continue online learning for the students and families who wanted it to continue,” said Dr. Thomas Chadzutko, Superintendent of the Schools.
Catholic schools in Queens and Brooklyn opened for in person classes last Wednesday.
Meanwhile, students at public schools across the city are required to attend class in person with no option to switch to remote learning.
Elected officials and parents have called on the mayor and the Department of Education to offer a remote option for the 2021-2022 school year. They cite the highly contagious delta variant and the inability to vaccinate students under age 12 as reasons to have a remote option.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards; Assembly Members Catalina Cruz, Nily Rozic, Catherine Nolan, Brian Barnwell, Daniel Rosenthal and Jessica González-Rojas; and State Senators Joseph Addabbo and John Liu have all demanded that the city offer a remote option.
“Placing our children in environments where community spread is certain… is the wrong decision that overrides the innate instinct of parents to protect their children,” Cruz wrote in a letter last week to the schools chancellor, which was signed by several state legislators.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter have remained committed to full in-person instruction for the city’s more than one million public school students. They have dismissed requests for a remote option.
The Catholic Diocese, on the other hand, is offering remote learning in response to the demands of parents.
“We know there are people who remain uncomfortable with returning to in-person learning and want to continue learning online,” Chadzutko said. “They should have this option and St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Online Academy provides just that.”
More than 150 students are currently enrolled in the online program and registration remains open.