Rochester-area Catholic schools close over coronavirus concerns
All of the Catholic schools in the Diocese of Rochester have announced current or impending closures in the hopes of stemming the spread of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. Many of the schools will be closed starting March 16, while others will close later in the week, according to information provided by James Tauzel, superintendent of the Diocese of Rochester’s Catholic schools.
The following schools in Monroe County are closed from March 16 until further notice:
• Holy Cross School in Charlotte
• Seton Catholic School in Brighton
• Siena Catholic Academy in Brighton
• St. Ambrose Academy in Rochester
• St. Joseph School in Penfield
• St. Kateri School in Irondequoit
• St. Louis School in Pittsford
• St. Lawrence School in Greece
• St. Rita School in Webster
• St. Pius Tenth School in Chili
The following schools in Chemung County will close March 17 and remain closed at least until April 14:
• St. Mary Our Mother School in Horseheads
• Holy Family School in Elmira
The following schools will be closed March 16 (although staff will report), open for students March 17 and then closing March 18 until at least April 14:
• St. Michael School in Penn Yan (Yates County)
• St. Francis-St. Stephen School in Geneva (Ontario County)
• St. Mary School in Canandaigua (Ontario County)
All Saints Academy in Corning, Steuben County, will close March 18 and remain closed until at least April 14
The closures come on the heels of a March 13 announcement that a second case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Monroe County. This case is believed to represent the first local case of community transmission, as the patient had not traveled outside the country, Monroe County’s public health commissioner, Dr. Michael Mendoza, said at a March 14 press conference. Monroe County Executive Adam Bello declared a county-wide state of emergency during the press conference, and later that afternoon it was announced that all public schools in Monroe County would close until further notice.
Many of the Catholic schools have informed school families of their plans to continue educating students through distance learning. St. Lawrence’s teachers and support staff, for example will meet March 16 to develop this plan, Principal Frank Arvizzigno explained in a March 14 email to parents. Holy Cross School’s teachers also will be meeting early in the week of March 16 to prepare for remote instruction and prepare materials for students and parents. Parents may pick up these materials at the school March 18 between 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., according to a notice posted on the school’s Facebook page.
The local Catholic high schools also are taking steps to prevent the virus’ spread.
• Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women also has closed. Students will not report to school March 16 through April 13, and remote instruction will begin March 17. The school will be open March 15 from 1 to 5 p.m. to allow students and parents to collect what they will need as they continue their education remotely over the next few weeks. All school-related travel also is cancelled through April 13.
• McQuaid Jesuit High School suspended face-to-face instruction and activities as of March 14. On March 16 the campus will be closed to students in order to provide the faculty with training for digital instruction. Students will have limited access to the building between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. to pick up any materials they need, and distance learning will begin March 18.
• Aquinas Institute will be closed starting March 16, with the intention of re-opening as early as March 23 or as late as April 13.
• Bishop Kearney High School on March 14 announced that it will be closed on March 16 and will let the school community know about further plans before the end of the weekend.