Interest grows in Omaha Catholic schools amid pandemic

Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 3:24 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Omaha Catholic schools are gaining a lot of attention from parents who are looking for educational options for their students, as schools prepare to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Omaha Catholic schools have been reaching out to families in an effort to educate their children. Catholic school officials said that in June and early July, digital advertising attracted many parents.

Principal Maureen Hoy said the school is getting around five calls a day from parents exploring their options for the upcoming school year.

This fall, 560 children, from preschool to eighth grade, will attend Mary Our Queen Catholic School.

Hoy said the school is working towards reopening with 100% in-school learning.

“We have new windows going in that actually open and close, so the ventilation is happening,” she said. “We have very large classrooms with smaller class sizes, so we were able to distance our desks in our classrooms six feet apart.”

The school’s small size and the five days a week in-school schedule is attractive to parents looking for options during the pandemic.

“I definitely would say in the last two weeks we’ve seen an uptick. That, with the combination of parents, are just trying to do what they think is best,” Communications Director Cindy Tooher said. “One of the advantages we have, as Maureen said, is the smaller class size — the space to spread out.”

The school’s Early Childhood Education Center is under construction and is scheduled to open during the upcoming school year, which will allow even more space for students to spread out.

“That will take our preschool out of this building and put it over there,” Tooher said. “And while the size of our preschool is increasing, it actually lets our kids be in classrooms with sinks and extra places to do the hand-hygiene practices.”

Officials at the school say there will be more than 30 new families at Mary Our Queen School when classes start.

“Every school district does a great job with what they’re given,” Tooher said. “One of the advantages of having a private school is we do have a little bit more autonomy to make our own calls and to make our own protocols.”

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