Masks will be required as students return to the classroom inside Philadelphia Catholic schools as COVID-19 cases continue to spread in the community as the academic year begins, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said Wednesday.
Earlier this week, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia sent letters home to parents and guardians that said that all students, faculty, staff and visitors to all its elementary, secondary and high schools in the five-county area must be masked indoors for the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
The mandate on indoor masking comes amid guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and some local governments, the archdiocese said.
"Given the continued presence of COVID-19 and the high-level transmissibility rates associated with the Delta variant, particularly among the unvaccinated in our communities, we remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring the health and safety of our students, faculty, administrators, and staff," archdiocese spokesman Kenneth Gavin told NBC10.
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Archdiocesan schools will be opening for in-person instruction five days a week this fall.
There are some places where masks won't be required:
"Masks will not be required when eating or while outdoors," a letter sent to high school families said. "In situations where masks are not required, they may be worn as a matter of personal choice."
Schooling in a Pandemic
Gavin said they hope the masking measure is only temporary and that the archdiocese understands some familes could be dissapointed.
"We realize that this may be difficult for our school families, however we are committed to our students’ academic, faith, social, and emotional development," Gavin said. "Please be assured that we are doing our best to meet the varied needs."