As coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continue to climb in California, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has changed plans to reopen schools through distance learning only in the fall. 

All schools in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties will begin the 2020-2021 school year as they ended the 2019-2020 one, with Zoom classes and online instructions. All three counties are on California’s current monitoring list, and will likely remain there until August, when schools are set to resume. 

Although the archdiocese had originally planned to begin the school year with in-person instruction, the state’s changing requirements have made that impossible. Governor Gavin Newson recently issued new restrictions that have halted the state’s process of reopening, closing hair salons and other personal care services, and forbidding indoor dining in restaurants and bars, and indoor worship services

“Though our return to our beloved campuses will be delayed for now, we will return,” said Paul Escala, Senior Director and Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese, in a letter to Catholic school families, educators and pastors. “Until then, our schools will open at a distance and our community will once again rise to the occasion.”

Escala highlighted the extraordinary efforts of educators and staff at all 265 Catholic schools in the archdiocese to “prepare to welcome back students this fall.”

“We are so proud of their incredible efforts in planning for both in-person and distance, while simultaneously focusing on making campuses safe for students and staff,” he said. “Though the circumstances may not afford us the opportunity to start the school year in-person, our preparation efforts will pay-off when we are able to safely return to campuses.”

The ability to return to in-person learning is based on the state’s local health jurisdiction monitoring list. Counties on the state’s monitoring list are unable to implement in-person instruction. Once a county has been removed from the list for 14 days, schools can reopen to students.  

“We are being called to be hopeful, resilient and faithful people. As one Catholic community, God calls us to come together once again for our children during difficult times. We will band together as we did in the spring because our Catholic schools are a gift — it’s where our students learn and love, and our families grow in faith and community,” said Escala.