Catholic Archdiocese of Miami making face masks optional in its schools — for now

·2 min read

Masks will now be optional indoors for students at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami’s elementary and high schools, if parents sign all the necessary papers.

The archdiocese announced Tuesday that it will allow parents and legal guardians to sign forms allowing unvaccinated and partially vaccinated students to opt out of having to wear a mask indoors in schools, effective immediately. The form can be found on the Archdiocese’s website, along with the new mask policy.

Masks were already optional indoors for fully vaccinated students and teachers who provided the Department of Health vaccination cards to the school or were confirmed through the FL SHOTS database.

This newest decision was made after monitoring community statistics, using the advice of physician advisors as well as guidance from the CDC and the Miami-Dade County Department of Health, the archdiocese said in a statement.

“The transmission rate is quite low and there is more vaccine available for students,” said Mary Ross Agosta, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese. “We felt this was the time to live up to what we said all along — that we will study the data and go along with it.”

In early November, Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Broward County Public Schools allowed parents to opt out of their students from districts’ mask mandates.

The archdiocese does have an evolving policy when it comes to COVID safety measures in schools, and Agosta said that if the data trends negatively again, measures will be put back in place.

With a new variant of concern being announced by the World Health Organization Omicron — the archdiocese will keep a close eye on released data and the advice of advisors and health organizations, Agosta said.

“The number one priority is the safety of our children and staff,” Agosta said. “Hopefully we don’t see another outbreak of any variant that comes through and this will be a happy time for everybody in schools.”

The archdiocese is still recommending students and staff receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

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