County’s Catholic schools will do distance learning this fall

The Archdiocese of Seattle will follow state guidelines and is planning for online teaching.

SEATTLE — Catholic schools in Snohomish County will continue with distance learning this fall, the Archdiocese of Seattle announced Thursday.

The archdiocese is requiring online instruction in counties where virus case counts are high and is allowing in-person classes in counties with lower risks for outbreaks.

Snohomish County, like most in the state, is considered high risk. That means there will be remote learning this year at Everett’s Archbishop Murphy High School, Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, and St. Mary Magdalen School. Online-only learning also is planned for St. Thomas Moore Parish School in Lynnwood, Holy Rosary School in Edmonds, St. Pius X School in Mountlake Terrace, St. Michael School in Snohomish and St. Brendan Catholic School in Bothell.

“While we miss our students and are eager to welcome them into classrooms, the safety of our students and staff and the care for the common good of the community remains paramount in our decision-making process,” said a letter to principals from Kristin Dixon, superintendent of the Office of Catholic Schools and the Most Rev. Paul Etienne, archbishop of Seattle.

The decision mirrors new guidance outlined Wednesday by Gov. Jay Inslee that called for remote instruction in 25 of the state’s counties, where COVID-19 case counts are high.

By the end of July, nearly every public school district in the county had announced distance learning plans for the fall, despite previous hopes to welcome students back to classrooms.

Private school leaders have argued that smaller class sizes make it easier for them to follow safety guidelines for in-person instruction. However, local health experts have said regardless of size, the risk is high.

Joey Thompson: 425-339-3449; Twitter: @byjoeythompson.

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