Many Catholic schools in the Diocese of Allentown had waitlists of students seeking full time, in-person learning

Written by on June 15, 2021

Many Catholic schools in the Diocese of Allentown had waitlists of students seeking full time, in-person learning

By Chloe Nouvelle

June 15, 2021

Photo by Karl Fredrickson on Unsplash

The region’s Catholic schools saw increased demand during COVID-19. Half the schools even had waiting lists. 

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When the school year started, many public schools announced they would offer a hybrid or remote schedule which left some parents looking for an alternative even if it cost them. 

The pandemic translated into higher demand for the region’s Catholic schools, many of which were open five days a week all year.

“The ones that weren’t, there were a handful of high schools, which are the largest schools, that didn’t have the room to socially distance all their students every day. And so they went on a rotating schedule, which they called hybrid,” says Paul Wirth, spokesman for the Diocese of Allentown. 

Eventually all but one high school found “creative ways” to bring all their students back full time, he says. 

Though social distancing created capacity issues at some schools, Wirth says, the pandemic created something Catholic schools just don’t see very often anymore.

“Many of our schools actually had waiting lists at the beginning of the year. And most of them operated at their maximum capacity,” Wirth says. 

The Diocese of Allentown covers five counties, including Carbon and Schuylkill, and COVID-19 hit them all differently. Wirth says overall this year, enrollment was down by 5%.

“Probably due to those economic factors in the pandemic. Now, that was offset by the demand at many of our schools for in-person learning,” Wirth says. 

The diocese believes enrollment will be high again next year, he says. 

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