SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – More than 3,100 students are enrolled this year in Catholic schools in the Diocese of Springfield, which is an increase in last year’s numbers.

According to the Diocese of Springfield, the first day of the 2021-22 school year had 3,161 students enrolled. That’s an increase of 13 percent, or 364 students, from the 2020-21 school year. The Catholic schools in western Massachusetts were some of the first schools to bring students back into the classroom in fall of 2020, something the Diocese of Springfield says parents were thankful for.

“First, many families appreciate all of the effort we placed in reopening our schools last year and keeping the students learning in-person throughout the year. Families also know that we had no learning loss due to the pandemic and as a result our students have progressed on or above grade level which has not been the case in many school systems. And finally, with an influx of new students, families who did not know what makes our schools different or maybe had misconceptions of what happens in a Catholic school, found communities that were engaging and very supportive of the needs of their families. They are more willing to share this good news,” Superintendent Daniel Baillargeon stated.

Pope Francis Preparatory School in Springfield saw a six percent increase in enrollment with 391 students. St. Mary’s High School in Westfield saw a 35 percent increase in enrollment with 104 students. Several schools currently have waiting lists to get enrolled.

“When I took over as principal 4 years ago, we had 67 students. So we have seen an amazing increase in
enrollment over the past four years,” said Matt Collins, the principal of St. Mary’s High School.

The Diocese of Springfield says their schools continue to follow necessary health precautions and have medical grade air purifiers throughout their schools.