Northern Va. Catholic schools back in class with full in-person learning

Classes have resumed at dozens of Catholic schools around Northern Virginia, and learning that was mostly in-person last school year is informing COVID-19 protocols currently in place.

“Things that were suggested like using seating charts. So, we always knew who was near whom, in the classroom, for example,” said Joseph E. Vorbach III, the superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Arlington.

Now welcoming nearly 17,000 students to 41 schools for in-person learning, the diocese has a year’s worth of experience dealing with the challenges that present themselves during COVID-19.

“A lot of learning about learning was accomplished during the process of having to switch to full distance learning back in March of 2020. And then coming back out of it, but taking the best of those experiences and trying to use them to serve all students better,” Vorbach said.

The Diocese encourages students who are eligible to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

However, there is no systematic testing to detect COVID-19 infections. Contact tracing, if needed, is handled by local public health departments.

Sports teams that compete in the Virginia Independent School Athletic Association and Washington Catholic Athletic Conference are also getting ready for the fall season.

For families who prefer it, virtual schooling is available at the Saint Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School. This is part of the Queen of Apostles School in Alexandria, Virginia. Saint Isidore is still accepting applications for 2021-2022.

The virtual school was created last year and is named after the Catholic Church’s patron saint of the internet who died on April 4, 636.

“That patronage is something assigned more recently, but it has to do with his interest in information when he was living,” Vorbach said.

Geographically, the Diocese spans approximately 6,541 square miles across 21 counties and seven independent cities.


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Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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