Due to the coronavirus restrictions, Catholic schools and parish religious education programs in the Diocese continue to be closed through at least April 17.  Freepik photo
Due to the coronavirus restrictions, Catholic schools and parish religious education programs in the Diocese continue to be closed through at least April 17. Freepik photo
All Catholic schools and religious education classes in the Diocese of Trenton will remain closed through April 17, according to a letter posted March 23 by JoAnn Tier, diocesan superintendent of Catholic schools.

Tier’s letter to Catholic school families followed a similar advisory to parish catechetical leaders sent by Denise Contino, director of the diocesan Department of Catechesis. 

The announcements came as a result of the tightening of restrictions enacted March 21 by N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy to include the shutdown of all schools and non-essential businesses in the state in order to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.    

According to Tier’s letter, extracurricular activities, athletic practices and competitions, class trips, and community gatherings planned in Catholic schools of the Diocese are canceled or postponed until further notice.  Events scheduled for later this year will be evaluated based on the most current information available.

The 35 Catholic schools and nearly 100 religious education programs in the Diocese were first ordered shut down from March 16 to 27 in an announcement by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. The decisions affect more than 14,000 Catholic school students and nearly 1,500 faculty and staff members, as well as some 42,000 children enrolled in parish religious education programs and 3,200 mostly volunteer catechists.  Parishes and schools have worked to provide home-based learning for these children, particularly those in a sacramental preparation year.

In her letter, Tier writes, “The responsiveness of administrators and teachers … underscores their dedication, compassion, commitment and professionalism.  With short notice, they have opened new avenues in learning to deliver instruction.”

Tier stated that her office will continue to “monitor this evolving situation of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its potential impact for our school communities will continue.  Updated guidance will be provided to school administrators as the need arises.”

She concluded, “Thank you for praying as a family for all those affected and for those who work diligently to combat this disease.”