Catholic schools in the Tampa Bay area will remain closed through the end of this school year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Diocese of St. Petersburg announced Monday.
The move, directed by Bishop Gregory Parkes, comes two days after Gov. Ron DeSantis recommended Florida’s public school campuses remain closed through the end of this semester. The diocese serves nearly 13,000 students at about 50 locations in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties.
Students will continue to participate in online learning while officials with the diocese and school administrators collaborate on plans for graduations, final grades and other end-of-year procedures. Each school will contact families with specifics, the diocese said.
“In times like these, our faith is what will sustain and guide us. It’s important that we pray together and for one another,” Chris Pastura, superintendent of Catholic schools, wrote in a letter to parents.
On Friday, before the governor’s recommendation, the Archdiocese of Miami announced it would not reopen its schools, according to the Miami Herald. Archbishop Thomas Wenski shared the news at the same press conference that announced Miami-Dade’s public and charter schools would stay closed.
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