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Waiting lists at Catholic, private schools after public schools release hybrid reopening plans

Berkeley Brean
Updated: July 27, 2020 07:54 PM
Created: July 27, 2020 05:26 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A Catholic elementary school in Monroe County has a waiting list for every grade for the first time in years. The list at Seton Catholic School filled up when public schools starting releasing reopening plans that have in-class teaching only part-time. 

Jonathan and Tanya Romeyn toured Seton Catholic Monday afternoon. The Romeyn's live in Pittsford, the number one ranked public school district upstate. But they're looking for a school with a plan to open five days a week. 

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Tanya Romeyn: "So the fact that there's a full-day kindergarten program that he can safely go to, and have that emotional growth and have that kindergarten experience is very important to us."

180 children go to Seton Catholic. It's PreK through 6th grade. 

Brean: "Was there a time in the past month or couple of weeks where you thought -- wait a second, something is going on here?"

Patty Selig, Seton Catholic School principal: "Last week. When the very first schools started announcing their changes we started getting online inquiries and phone calls asking if we had any openings."

Brean: "And now you have a waiting list."

Patty Selig: "Yeah, yes we do."

I checked with all kinds of parochial and private schools. 

Our Lady of Mercy says interest increased in March when it maintained daily classes online during the shutdown. 

Aquinas Institute says it has waiting lists for grades 6, 8 and 10. 

McQuaid Jesuit's 7th grade is full. Both say they're experiencing an increase in interest. 

Allendale Columbia says applications in July are up 200% and there is a waiting list for some of the grades at its Lower School, which serves students from nursery school to 5th grade. 

Laura Kuhn decided to send her daughter Amelia to Bishop Kearney for the 8th grade. 

"When I think about everything else we're dealing with, having that decision made, it's one of the most comfortable things I've living with right now," Kuhn said. "Suddenly things we all took for granted — 'Of course I'm going to send my kid here. Of course, this is going to be the schedule.' We really can't take anything for granted anymore and that includes education. We're investigating options we never would have considered."

Bishop Kearney has 375 students but Principal Steve Salluzzo says there is an uptick in families calling for information. 

Brean: "When these parents contact you or contact the school and they ask - how are you going to do in-class teaching, what do you tell them?"

Steve Salluzzo, Bishop Kearney principal: "Right now, the way we're modeling this is based on our headcount as well as our square footage in the classrooms we feel pretty confident that we will offer in-person instruction every day of the week."

Principal Selig says that's what they're planning for at Seton Catholic. 

Like every other school and school district in New York, Seton Catholic has to have its plan into the state by July 31.


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