The Catholic Diocese of Arlington’s Office of Catholic Schools on Tuesday announced that distance learning is in place at all 41 parish schools and high schools in the diocese.

The diocese has 37 parish (K-8) schools and four diocesan high schools serving almost 17,000 students. 

“Our Catholic schools meet the highest standards of excellence in even the most challenging of circumstances. Our administrators and teachers have enthusiastically risen to the task of continuing to educate our students in a virtual environment,” said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Diocese of Arlington.  

Technology is being used to maintain connections between teachers and students. In many schools, principals begin the day with live broadcasts and morning prayer through Zoom. Many teachers are using Google Classroom. Others are using private YouTube channels to offer and view videos. Children are sending in their work through photos. In higher grades, a lecture is often provided for instruction at various points throughout the day, and the teacher then makes him/herself available for digital office hours while work is being done by the students.

“This is an incredible test for our school leaders, teachers and families, one they are responding to with a lot of creativity, thoughtfulness and patience,” said Dr. Joseph Vorbach, superintendent of schools for the diocese. “It is not an undertaking that comes without challenges, but there is an enormous amount of learning taking place as a result. We are confident the lessons learned during this endeavor will enhance the use of technology and provide creative news ways to further increase student engagement over the long term.”

On March 13, diocesan Catholic schools were closed following Gov. Ralph Northam's directive to close schools in Virginia for the following two weeks. Consistent with Northam’s March 23 directive that all public and private schools in the state remain closed for the remainder of the academic year, Catholic schools in the Diocese will remain closed but continue distance learning through the end of the school year.

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