ANDROSCOGGIN VALLEY — Salve Regina Academy will reopen this fall with full in-classroom learning along with all other Catholic Schools in the state. The Diocese of Manchester has also announced a transfer incentive program for newly enrolled students.
“Since March, many parents have struggled to balance their own telecommuting with assisting in the education of their children at home,” said Diocese Superintendent of Schools David A. Thibault. “Everyone involved rose to the challenge but we recognize that remote learning is not ideal.”
“That is why we made the determination to return to classroom instruction just as soon as possible,” said Thibault. “Over the last several weeks, we have worked with each school in the diocese to formulate a plan to reopen carefully and with appropriate safeguards in place to ensure the health of our faculty and staff, students, their families and the community at large.
Salve Regina Academy opened last year on the Holy Family Parish campus in Gorham, serving pre-kindergarten through grade eight. An open house at the academy is scheduled for July 21, from 5:30-7 p.m.
The Catholic school system is also offering a two-year break on tuition to any newly enrolled student transferring from a non-Catholic school. Students in grades 1-8 will receive a $1,000 tuition grant the first year and $500 the second year. Students in grades 9-12 will receive a $2,000 tuition grant the first year and $1,000 off the second year.
“We’re calling this the “See You in Class!’ campaign,” said Alison Mueller, director of marketing, enrollment, and development for Catholic schools. “In our recent informal survey, eight out of 10 parents reported that their child missed the interactions with classmates and teachers. We want as many young people as possible to join our wonderful communities. We’ll see them in class, in person, this fall!”
Both local public school districts, SAU 3 and SAU 20, report they hope to reopen this fall back in school as well. The state is expected to issue guidance this week on how schools should reopen. A state task force made up of administrators, teachers and community members across the state submitted a list of recommendations to Gov. Chris Sununu by its June 30 deadline. The governor is expected to release the state’s official guidance this week.
In a release issued Thursday, SAU 3 said it hopes to start the school year back in the Berlin school buildings but warned the year will call for flexibility as there may be periods when learning will go remote because of the pandemic. SAU 3 said once it has the state guidance, it will outline a plan for Berlin and seek input from staff and the public.
The SAU warned there is no perfect solution but it expects to come up with a way “to educate our children in the safest way possible.”
The release said SAU 3 will also need to align with SAU 20, which oversees Milan Village School and the Gorham, Randolph, Shelburne Cooperative School District.
The two districts share students at the upper grade levels. In an email, SAU Superintendent David Backler said SAU 20 also hopes to reopen in-class but be prepared to go remote if needed.
He said the SAU hopes to hear from the state Tuesday.