A petition is circulating online calling for Fairfax’s Paul VI Catholic High School to refrain from a planned move to a new Loudoun County campus by 2020.

In December the Catholic Diocese of Arlington announced the plan to move Paul VI west to a property in South Riding. Established in 1983, Paul VI, with more than 1,000 students, has been situated on an 18-acre campus in Fairfax City that the diocese said it wants to sell. The site, occupying a stretch along Fairfax Boulevard near Route 123, is considered prime real estate.

After news of the move was announced, many current Paul VI families and alumni expressed shock on social media. In recent days, a petition was posted to Change.org, calling on the school to stay put.

According to a statement on the Web site, the school’s “value in Fairfax is irreplaceable. Moving the school will have a devastating effect on the community.”

In December, Fairfax Mayor R. Scott Silverthorne said that he had lobbied the diocese to keep Paul VI in the city.

“As mayor, I’m clearly disappointed in the decision,” he said. “We worked hard to convince them to stay.”

Seeking to allay concerns, the diocese said in a statement announcing the move that freshmen enrolling in the fall would be guaranteed four years at the current campus in Fairfax. The planned move could be completed by 2020.