Mask-wearing in Catholic schools will be a private decision, Catholic Diocese of Richmond says

Student at St. Matthew's Catholic School.jpg
Posted at 4:23 PM, Jul 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-20 19:02:04-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – With some private schools starting classes in about a month, many are wondering whether students will be required to wear masks in school.

Some public schools are currently having that debate. Meanwhile, the Catholic Diocese of Richmond has released information stating that mask-wearing will be an individual decision.

The acknowledgment from the Diocese of Richmond states, in part:

The following are key takeaways of the CDC guidance and what that means in our diocesan schools:
  • Masks should be worn by individuals (older than 2) that are not fully vaccinated when indoors.
  • The wearing of masks in our schools will be a personal and individual decision. Parents will make that decision for their children.
  • Multiple layers of prevention strategies should be in place. Strategies in our schools will include handwashing, respiratory etiquette, proper ventilation, cleaning, disinfecting, and incorporating distancing, when possible, particularly in classrooms of students under 12 who cannot be vaccinated at this time.
Catholic Diocese of Richmond

One mother, Marin Jakawich, has children at both private and public schools and says they’re undecided on whether their daughters will wear masks.

“We definitely want to have that conversation with them. We’ll talk about, you know, 'These are the risks; this is what can happen,'” stated Jakawich, who said she’s leaning toward letting them go mask-free. “If it starts to be that kind of season where a lot of kids are getting sick, we might change our minds and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to keep our masks on.’”

Related: American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 'universal masking' in schools for anyone older than 2

Kelly Lazzara, Superintendent of Schools for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, told News 3 that the “response so far has been overwhelmingly in support” of their decision to let families decide. But Lazzara also said there are some who have voiced their opinion against it.

Lazzara also stressed that it’s a fluid situation, which they are constantly monitoring.

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