BOSTON (AP) — Catholic church officials say nearly a dozen Catholic schools have closed in Massachusetts this year and more could shutter as the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic mounts.
The Boston Herald reports among the recently announced closures are schools in Chelsea, Boston, Braintree, Holbrook, Lowell, Kingston, Marlborough, Methuen, Weymouth, Winchester, have permanently closed.READ MORE: 34-Year-Old Man Dies After Hit-And-Run In Bridgewater
Thomas Carroll, school superintendent for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, tells the newspaper that it’s already the largest number of closures the region has seen in almost 50 years.
He said Catholic schools nationwide have been dealing with declining enrollment and financial challenges for years, but it’s been exacerbated by the pandemic.
Carroll estimated Catholic school enrollment in the Boston archdiocese is down 7% from March, when Massachusetts and other states enacted widespread economic closures and social restrictions to control the pandemic.READ MORE: Franklin Man Allegedly Driving 142 MPH Arrested In New Hampshire
He said more school closures could come in September and October as families opt to cut private education costs during the economic uncertainty. Massachusetts has among the highest rates of unemployment in the nation.
“This is a pretty extraordinary moment for the archdiocese,” Carroll told the Herald.
Roughly 32,000 students attend nearly 100 Catholic schools within the archdiocese, the newspaper reports.MORE NEWS: 800 Nurses At St. Vincent Hospital In Worcester Preparing To Strike
(© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)