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Fall River Diocese announces COVID-19 crisis causing closure of two schools

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FALL RIVER, MA – The Diocese of Fall River announced today that the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis requires it to close two Catholic schools at the end of this school year. Coyle and Cassidy Middle School and High School in Taunton and St. Margaret Primary School in Buzzards Bay were relying on the Diocese to cover budget shortfalls, but the pandemic has made that unsustainable.

Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., said he made the decisions “with a heavy heart,” and apologized for informing families by video message because of social distancing during the pandemic. He said, however, that “Catholic schools are not only about the buildings but about a community that advances the Church’s mission” and focuses on the future. The bishop said, “By consolidating our resources and bringing students together in these schools we can continue to provide high quality Christ-centered education for all of our students.”

Coyle and Cassidy High School will consolidate operations with Bishop Connolly in Fall River, with free transportation provided to the 100 high school students coming from the Taunton area. Coyle and Cassidy Middle School students will transfer to Our Lady of Lourdes School in Taunton. St. Margaret Primary students will have a choice of three Catholic schools: St. Pius X in South Yarmouth, St. Joseph School in Fairhaven and St. Francis Xavier in Acushnet.

Superintendent Stephen A. Perla said, “While we sincerely regret having to close any of our Catholic schools, the ultimate goal is to strengthen all remaining schools to ensure Catholic education is available for many years to come.”

Perla stressed that successful education initiatives will continue, including STEM programming and facilities at Coyle and Cassidy, which will be transferred to the Our Lady of Lourdes building for middle schoolers.

The three schools providing options for the St. Margaret’s students are eager to help ease their transition and none will see any tuition increase, Perla said.

“We are committed to helping our families transition to another Catholic school that best suits their needs,” said Perla, noting that current applications for financial aid and scholarships will follow the students.

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