Some parents opting for private school to ensure students experience in-person learning
Some parents in New Jersey have pulled their children out of public school and enrolled them in private ones to ensure that they return to in-person schooling.
The Boniello family pulled their son Ciro out of the Westwood public school system and enrolled him in Our Lady of Mercy in nearby Park Ridge where the first grader will go to school five days a week.
“Once we made the decision, it was just like a weight lifted off our shoulders, just because we did so much back and forth,” says mother Lisa Boniello.
The Boniellos say that they feared that the Westwood School District would change to all-remote learning at the last minute. Both parents work from home and having a student attending virtual school would not be sustainable. They said that they found it difficult this past spring.
“We kind of went rogue. Gave him our own worksheets because he’d have a Zoom call every day at 11 a.m., then again at 2 p.m. I’d have conference calls. [My husband] would have conference calls and the internet would be spotty,” Lisa says.
But private school is costly and the Boniellos say that they will have to tighten their budget to pay for tuition.
The Newark Archdiocese says that it is unclear if its schools are seeing a boost in enrollment because of the pandemic, but a spokesperson says that families are still signing up, so the archdioceses hopes to have a better idea in the coming weeks.
“Our return to in-school learning has required a great deal of planning to ensure the health and safety of students and staff, including changes to daily school procedures, space configuration, delivery of instruction and preparation on various levels,” Newark Archdiocese spokeswoman Maria Margiotta says.
Dozens of Catholic schools have recently closed in New Jersey. But the Boniellos say that Our Lady of Mercy presented them with a more confident plan and that this change could last beyond the pandemic.