BOSTON – The Archdiocese of Boston on Wednesday implemented a mask mandate for students and staff at dozens of Catholic schools.
Citing the church’s support for Governor Charlie Baker’s emphasis on ensuring a safe reopening of schools, masks will be required at 69 Catholic schools directly controlled by the Archdiocese from October 1.
“We strongly recommend, but cannot impose, that a similar approach be taken in the other 31 Catholic schools which are independent private schools or Catholic schools run by religious orders,” the Office of Catholic Schools said in a statement. communicated.
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Earlier this month, the office said vaccinated students and staff would not be required to wear masks inside school buildings, but the guidelines were changed after education officials from the State voted to allow a statewide school mask mandate.
“Although the governor’s guidelines only apply to public schools, we have informed the Archdiocese of Catholic Schools of Boston of our decision to implement universal masking indoors until October 1, 2021, as the governor proposed it for public schools for students aged 5 and over At that time, we will assess our policy in the future taking into account state and federal guidelines, updated health data and contributions from schools and parents, ”the statement read.
Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley is expected to announce a statewide school mask mandate on Wednesday that would be in place until October 1.
After October 1, middle and high schools would only be allowed to lift the mandatory mask for vaccinated students and staff if the school achieves a certain vaccination rate – at least 80% of students and staff in a school building are vaccinated. Unvaccinated students and staff would still be required to wear masks.
The mask mandate will only apply indoors and to children ages 5 and up, and there would be exceptions for students who cannot wear a mask due to medical conditions or behavioral needs.