Metro Detroit parents turning to Catholic schools for in-person learning

Posted at 4:05 PM, Aug 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-24 10:53:53-04

(WXYZ) — Schools in metro Detroit are offering different options to start the school year.

Because of the pandemic, some districts are offering face-to-face learning, virtual learning or a hybrid of both.

Some school districts like Rochester, Ann Arbor, Grosse Pointe and Northville are starting the school year with virtual learning only.

Many Catholic schools in the area are offering in-person classes, which are options for parents who are not in a position to support their children through virtual learning.

“Awful, just a lot of anxiety.”

Mom Beth Pellegrini did not get a face-to-face learning option in her two kids’ school district.

“I have to go to work, so what am I going to do? Leave them home alone all day?” she said.

Pellegrini turned to a Catholic school that had a spot available for her youngest child but not her 12-year-old son..

While he sits on a waitlist, she is working on Plan C.

“Trying to find pods, where parents are working together to try and get the kids together and hire substitute teachers or retired teachers.”

She's not alone; Jennifer Brujitske’s boys were waitlisted at one Catholic school but managed to enroll in another.

She says her school district offered a kids club option for essential workers like her and her husband but it cost too much.

"For two children for a month is $2,200," Brujitske explained. "At St. Joan of Arc, we will be paying a third of that.”

Jill Maks owns a salon and can’t be home to help teach her kids.

“We are all in the same storm, but not the same boat.”

That is how she describes working and parenting during the pandemic.

She is now sending them to Our Lady of The Star of the Sea School in Grosse Pointe Woods.

“I do have friends that have tried to get into Star and have been put on a waitlist.”

Jeremy Clark is the principal of St. Patrick Catholic School in White Lake.

“You don’t have to be Catholic to be part of the Catholic school system,” he said.

The school teaches preschool through eighth grade and has 50 students on a waitlist.

He’s happy to welcome new families.

“You might find yourself in a wonderful community that you might stay with for your student’s tenure," he said.

Tuition and start dates differ for each Catholic school.

But they get guidance from the Archdiocese of Detroit who put in safety measures in place for the school.