NEW YORK (AP) — As the new academic year arrives, school systems across the United States are struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Roman Catholic educators have an extra challenge — trying to forestall a relentless wave of closures of their schools that has no end in sight. Already this year, financial and enrollment problems aggravated by the pandemic have forced the permanent closure of more than 140 Catholic schools nationwide. Three top Catholic leaders warn that hundreds more are likely without federal support. They have urged Congress to ensure the next pandemic relief bill includes scholarship assistance for low-income families for use at Catholic or other private schools.