Catholic High School Ahead of Coronavirus Concerns With Jumpstart on Distance-Learning

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By Tim Harfmann

The only sounds you’ll hear at Cathedral Prep School and Seminary is that of maintenance men disinfecting the building.

The Elmhurst Catholic high school may be closed this week as a precaution, but there’s no time lost: students have been learning online every day.

“We can try to give them as much of a normal experience as possible,” explained Cathedral Prep’s rector-president, Father James Kuroly, who said they’ve had this emergency plan in place since September 2019.

Nearly 160 students are studying from home.

“It’s through Google Classroom. They’re able to respond to the question, as well as respond to one another,” said Fr. Kuroly. 

Teachers also use email and other methods to have constant communication.

“The teacher is not in front of you,” he added, “but the teacher is providing the resources, the information, so that learning is able to take place.”

Although teachers and students don’t meet face-to-face online, Fr. Kurloy can FaceTime members of Cathedral Prep’s administration.

The school’s principal, Richie Diaz, said the all-boys Catholic high school has been ahead of the curve when it comes to distance learning. 

Seniors have been taking an online class all year.

“The fact that we’ve been doing some level of this throughout the whole year makes me confident that the students are comfortable with the technology and also that, to be quite honest, they’re humble enough to know this is not an ideal situation and that they’re going to work with us,” Diaz said. 

Distance learning is made possible thanks in part to DeSales Media Group, the parent company of Currents News, which provides technology for learning.

“We’re able to work with one of our great partners, Cathedral Prep, in making sure that young people are able to continue to go to school, even as the rest of the city and even our public schools are not able to,” said Monsignor Kieran Harrington, Vicar for Communications in the Brooklyn Diocese.