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SAN BERNARDINO—The Catholic schools of the Diocese will begin the year providing instruction in an all online format, after California Governor Gavin Newsom announced July 17 that counties on the state watch list for spiking cases of COVID-19 could not open for in-person instruction.

San Bernardino and Riverside counties are among the 30 counties on the state watch list. Just days prior to Gov. Newsom’s order the Diocesan Office of Catholic Schools had announced plans to reopen the 26 Catholic schools of the Diocese for full-time, in person instruction in August, with a variety of social distancing and safety precautions in place to protect students. Surrounding Catholic dioceses had announced similar plans.

Under the State Order, schools are permitted to reopen for in person instruction once the county in which they are located has been off the state watch list for 14 days. In a letter to Catholic school communities of the Diocese released the day of Newsom’s announcement, Catholic Schools Superintendent Dr. Sam Torres indicated that local Catholic schools would reopen for in-person instruction as soon as they were eligible to do so.

“Our reopening plans have been approved by the respective county health departments, therefore, when the time presents itself to reopen in-person instruction, we are prepared,” Dr. Torres wrote.