Education migration: Families going from public to private schools for full in-person learning

Regional News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Some local superintendents say they’ve seen changes in enrollment during the pandemic. For example, in the Greece district, kindergarten numbers are down, home-schooling is up, and the migration to private schools has also increased. Private schools have certainly noticed this shift as well.

Steve Salluzzo, president of Bishop Kearney, said he’s seen a lot of families come over from public schools during the pandemic to get the five days a week in person experience for their children. He said when the school announced back in August it would be offering five days in-person learning, enrollment bumped up. He said it’s continued throughout the year.

“We’ve seen a bit of a recent bump as we’ve gone from the second quarter to the third quarter where I’m assuming people have given it a try for half a year, really value the in-person instruction we provide and have come over in a mid-year transfer,” Salluzzo said.

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He said they have a wait list for all grade levels. Aquinas Institute is in a similar position. President Anthony Cook said 44% of this year’s incoming students came over from public schools as opposed to 25-30% in a normal year.

“We actually had waiting lists in three of our grades so 6,8, and 10 and we’ve actually recently surveyed all those families and they do plan to come back next year regardless of what their previous school decides to do next year. We’ve welcomed those new students into that family and I think they’ve felt that welcome,” Cook said.

Next year is still up in the air for many public schools with the six-foot social distance requirement roadblocking many of them from bringing back all students in person. Kathleen Graupman is the superintendent at Greece Central School District.

“Given that some of our private counterparts in the elementary and secondary are offering five days a week, some families that are able chose that because they were going to be paying for childcare on those off days,” she said.

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Salluzzo thinks the social aspect of being in school with friends every day is also key to the migration from public school and said he’s glad they have the space to provide that.

“To be able to be five days a week and have students in the building all the time its refreshing and its a sense of normalcy in a really atypical time.”

He also said Bishop Kearney is currently going through the re-enrollment process for next year and soon they’ll have an idea of how many families will be returning.

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