For many schools in the Diocese of Metuchen, technology had already been regularly integrated into the curriculum well before the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Now, various methods of technology are infused as distance learning continues indefinitely through live classroom instruction, virtual meetings, daily prayer and enrichment for the 7,259 students in 27 Catholic schools around the four-county diocese in Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren.
All schools were ordered to close on March 18 through Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order in efforts to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Above all, our Catholic schools are continuing in their mission of Catholic education, even from a distance,” said Anthony P. Kearns III Esq., chancellor and spokesperson of the Diocese of Metuchen and also head of its coronavirus task force. “We are extremely grateful to the Catholic school teachers, principals and administrators in our diocese, who have done an exceptional job in educating and forming our students under these circumstances.”
Kearns said isolation certainly brings a unique challenge, especially for their younger students, who are accustomed to being with one another each day.
“Our teachers and administrators, and also priests of our diocese, are doing all they can they can to offer opportunities for virtual connection and, of course, prayer during these challenging times,” he said. “Our principals are virtually reading to the students, our teachers are organizing virtual social activities, and our priests are virtually praying with the students, some even praying the Stations of the Cross with the students each Friday, so their efforts extend well-beyond the classroom. Together, our faculty and staff, and our school families, are working to ensure the best for our students: their health, their education and their futures.”
Bishop James F. Checchio sent a letter to teachers, principals and administrators on April 1 offering his appreciation and gratitude for their efforts.
“You are doing things that you obviously never planned, and probably were not prepared for, and you are doing an exceptional job,” he said in the statement. “I have heard from many parents who are very grateful for all your good work in continuing to educate and form their children.”
Checchio also sent a video message to students encouraging them to “stick with it, and use this to grow in the virtue of patience too as they face this challenge.”
For more information visit diometuchen.org.