Catholic schools

NH Catholic Schools See Uptick in Enrollment Despite Pandemic

The renewed interest in Catholic education is the decision to get kids back into the classroom, families say

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Catholic schools in New Hampshire are set to resume in-class learning on Sept. 1 and despite the ongoing threat of the coronavirus, the Diocese of Manchester says enrollment is skyrocketing.

There is a renewed interest in Catholic education and families say it's because of the decision to get kids back into the classroom this fall.

"I absolutely think that the return to classroom spiked people's interest," said Alison Mueller, Diocese of Manchester Director of Marketing.

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At St. Francis in Litchfield, Mueller said more than 30 new families signed up in the last two weeks.

The Maricic family of Londonderry is one of them.

"Our two children who are in school really need to be in the classroom," Carrie Maricic said. "We were just seeking something that would put them back in the class with their teachers and their peers."

Each school has its own reopening task force, but to ensure safety, the Diocese has released guidelines, Mueller said.

Older students will wear masks when they can't social distance, class sizes are smaller, and desks will be spread apart, she said.

"Our schools are working with a three to six-foot distance between our desks," Mueller explained. "Sometimes we have class sizes small enough that we can go even larger than that."

As Massachusetts schools get their plans ready for reopening this fall, one superintendent is showing exactly what things will look like for students and staff.

The Maricic family said they're less worried about the spread of COVID-19 in the classroom and more concerned for their kids' mental health if the classroom wasn't an option.

"We're just telling them to wash their hands and cover their mouths and don't get too close to somebody," Maricic said. "But to be normal, be healthy. You're only a kid once."

Another thing that is incentivizing new families is the Diocese transfer program that's giving new students up to $3,000 off tuition, Mueller said.

Enrollment ends on Aug. 31.

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