After the Archdiocese of Miami announced Friday that students would begin the school year with online instruction, a group of moms started an online petition urging the Archdiocese to provide families with a choice.
“We want to ask the Archdiocese to empower the schools and the community of families to make the decision,” said one of the petition organizers, Jackie Suarez.
Suarez says this petition started out of love for their schools, teachers, and administrators.
Some parents say if their children cannot go back to their Catholic schools in-person, they’d like a tuition reimbursement or discount.
“We can receive online education for our children for free through Florida virtual schools, so how are they going to offer us this Catholic school experience if our kids are sitting at home in front of iPads," said parent Kelli Cardenal.
Suarez says if her children cannot be in the classroom, she needs to hire a full time tutor or teacher for her kids at home. She cannot afford the cost of tuition and a tutor.
Archbishop Thomas Wenski says they can’t offer reimbursements because their costs, such as paying teachers, remain the same.
"I’m between a rock and a hard place. We want to do the best for the well being of our kids and the families and I know the parents want that too. We’re just trying to reach a potential decision so we don’t risk the health of our children, our teachers, and our staff,” said Wenski.
The Archbishop is closely monitoring the number of COVID-19 cases and hopes to provide families the option of in-person learning as soon as possible.
“We’re trying to make the best of a very difficult situation and I surely feel for the parents that are upset,” said Wenski.
Wenski says teachers and staff also have to feel comfortable coming back to school.The moms who started the petition say they definitely want teachers to be part of the conversation.
A major worry right now for the parents who signed the petition is that ultimately many will withdraw their children from school because they can’t afford it and they say everyone loses in that scenario.