Diocese announces school closings March 16-31

Provided: A student snacks and works at St. Mary Help of Christians.

CHARLESTON—The Diocese of Charleston announced it will close Catholic Schools March 16 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to principals and parents, Msgr. D. Anthony Droze, vicar general, wrote that “due to the increasing COVID-19 pandemic and recent developments in guidance from public health, state and local leadership, we will suspend classes in Catholic schools in the Diocese of Charleston from March 16-31.”

“Based on the recommendations of officials and reflection among our leadership in the diocese, we believe this is the most necessary course of action to meet our obligation to the common good of our students, families and communities,” he continued. “As Catholic schools, we are committed to ensuring that learning and support for children happens to the fullest extent possible.”

Classes will continue, however, with distance learning programs. Major internet service providers, including Comcast and Charter, have expanded their offerings to make sure more students and families have internet access, the letter stated. Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps, according to the statement. Installation fees will be waived for new student households. Comcast is removing data caps and opening up their nationwide network of Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots free for the next 60 days.

“School officials, alongside those in the Catholic Schools Offices, will continue to closely monitor this evolving health crisis and remain committed to keeping you informed,” Msgr. Droze said. “We will communicate with you as needed in the upcoming days and weeks.”

Prior to school closings, Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone announced on March 12 that Masses would continue over the weekend but he granted dispensations “to those who are at high risk for adverse health complications from COVID-19, or do not feel comfortable attending Mass.”

The Catholic Catechism (2181) allows the faithful to miss Mass as a result of illness.

The diocese has not released any further statements about weekday Masses.