With about a month to go before the first day of class, the Newark Archdiocese announced that five schools will not reopen and three will merge with other schools.

The archdiocese, which closed 10 schools in May, cited "enrollment loss and growing financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic" as the reason for the latest closures.

Parents and alumni of one school on the list, Academy of Our Lady in New Providence, raised nearly a half million dollars to stay open, NorthJersey.com reported.

The latest schools that are closing:

    • Transfiguration Academy, Bergenfield
    • St. Joseph Academy, Bogota
    • The Academy of St. Mary, Rutherford
    • St. Francis Xavier, Newark
    • Ironbound Catholic Academy, Newark

In addition, St. Joseph of the Palisades in West New York will add students from Mother Seton and St. Augustine School, both in Union City, to their campus.

St. Joseph the Carpenter in Roselle will welcome students from Our Lady of Guadalupe in Elizabeth.

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin said he recognizes that the news is "profoundly painful" for those involved with the schools and expressed his prayers and support for their loss.

"The difficult decision to further consolidate our Catholic Schools follows considerable discussion and examination of their viability under the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Education remains a crucial element in the life and mission of this Archdiocese," Tobin said.

An online petition to save Transfiguration Academy was posted in an attempt to save the school for at least one academic year.

"We ask that the Archdiocese of Newark allow our school to remain open for at least the 2020-2021 school year, so that we can find strategic ways to adjust," the petition declares.

The Diocese of Camden said it would close five schools this year. The diocese reversed course and decided to keep Wildwood Catholic open after it was heartened by "the support and immediacy with which the community responded to the needs of the high school, which indicates the value that they, too, have placed on maintaining Catholic secondary education in Cape May County."

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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