Update on Mask Guidelines for Schools
STATEMENT BY ARCHDIOCESE OF BOSTON
CATHOLIC SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT THOMAS W. CARROLL
February 9, 2022
The Catholic Schools Office has released the following statement by Tom Carroll regarding eliminating the school mask mandate effective February 28, 2022.
“Today, in light of Governor Baker’s announcement and updated Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) guidance, the Archdiocese of Boston is eliminating all school masking mandates on behalf of all Archdiocesan parochial schools and Archdiocesan-related Catholic schools.
This applies to children of any age in our schools.
As always, however, we will follow any local health board mandates. Similarly, we will follow the existing federal order for mask wearing on school buses. DESE guidance on mask wearing for students returning after COVID cases will remain.
Individual teachers and staff members will be allowed to wear masks at their own discretion. All parents can decide for their own children whether a mask for their children is advisable. These personal decisions will be respected.
This will be effective on Monday, February 28th, the first school day after February Break. This will give schools time to adjust their policies and communicate with parents and other affected parties.
In a limited number of instances, the Catholic Schools Office will consider requests from individual schools where there is a parent consensus and compelling data to continue mask wearing.
As in the past, this change of policy will not apply to Catholic schools that are independent of the Archdiocese or any Catholic schools operated by religious orders.
This decision was made after consultation with Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley.
We are proud of our decision to keep our Catholic schools open and doing so in a way that has kept our students, faculty and staff safe during the global pandemic.”
Archived Posting from January 10, 2022
On January 10, 2022, medical experts and state health officials agreed to an extension of the mask requirement in public schools as an important measure to keep students safe at this time. After consultation with Cardinal O’Malley, the Archdiocese of Boston will also extend the mask requirement through February 28, 2022, for all parochial and RCAB-related schools.
Effective through February 28, 2022: School students (age 5 and above) and staff in all grades are required to wear masks indoors in schools, except when eating or drinking or during mask breaks.
- Masks are not required when outdoors.
- All visitors are also expected to wear a mask in school buildings.
- Masks should cover an individual’s nose and mouth.
- It is strongly recommended that students younger than age 5 also wear a mask in school.
- Mask breaks may occur throughout the day. If feasible, breaks should occur when the windows are open, or students are outdoors.
- Masks may also be removed indoors when necessary to participate in elective classes, such as the use of wind instruments in band.
- Masks are required for any sports-related activity for student-athletes and coaches when indoors, in alignment with guidance provided by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA).
- The mask requirement includes a medical exemption.