Catholic schools and in-person learning

Wednesday evening a preliminary injunction was issued by U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove saying that Governor Andy Beshear’s executive order closing all private and public schools to in-person learning beginning Monday, November 23, 2020, could not apply to private, religious-led schools across the state. While not a part of the lawsuit against Beshear’s emergency restriction, the Diocese of Owensboro Catholic Schools Office, with full support by Bishop William F. Medley, has decided to allow each of the 17 individual schools or school systems to determine when to return to in-person learning.

“First, we want to make clear that we support all efforts to keep our communities safe and we respect the weight of the decisions entrusted with the Governor,” said David Kessler, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese, “however, we believe that we can support these efforts AND safely return our children to school.”

The Catholic Schools Office for the diocese has determined that elementary schools may return to in-person instruction beginning Monday, November 30, 2020. Their goal is to have middle and high schools return to in-person instruction by Monday, December 7, 2020.

“Each school knows their own community best and can evaluate what transmissions in their area look like,” said Kessler. “Then they can decide if they want to continue with virtual learning or transition back in in-person instruction. The decision is solely up to them without any pressure from the diocese.”

“As I’ve stated before, we acknowledge the difficult circumstances we face in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and we appreciate the efforts by our governor to keep our citizens safe,” said Bishop Medley, “but we really and truly feel that one of the safest places our children can be at this time is in the classroom, learning face-to-face, albeit distanced and wearing masks.”