Diocese of Palm Beach Catholic schools encourage students under 12 to wear masks

'Hybrid learning will be minimized or eliminated' under COVID-19 guidelines for 2021-22 school year
St. Ann Catholic School facade, July 23, 2020
Posted at 11:58 AM, Jul 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-16 11:58:22-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Catholic schools throughout Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast are encouraging all unvaccinated students to wear masks for the 2021-22 school year.

The Office of Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Palm Beach released its COVID-19 protocols and guidelines for the upcoming school year Thursday.

Those guidelines encourage in-person attendance and facial coverings for students under the age of 12.

"We believe that our students learn best when they are in our buildings and attending school," the memorandum to parents said. "All families are encouraged to have their children at school for the 2021-22 school year."

Parents seeking remote learning for their children "due to health-related issues" are asked to contact their school administrator.

"Hybrid learning will be minimized or eliminated on most campuses," the memo said, noting that exceptions will be made if "significant numbers of students (or teachers/staff) are quarantined in a particular class or grade level."

Masks will be optional for the upcoming school year, "but recommended for all persons, including students under 12, who are regularly on our campuses."

"It is highly recommended that employees, visitors, volunteers and students 12 and older, who have not been vaccinated for COVID-19, wear a facial covering or mask while on campus," the memo said.

Currently, there are no vaccines available for children under 12, although that could soon change.

To help prevent the spread of coronavirus, anyone with a temperate higher than 100.3 degrees will not be allowed to attend school.

School masses will follow the diocese's protocols, while all athletic events will adhere to state and local guidelines. Assemblies, large indoor gatherings and field trips may be limited and must be approved by the school administrator.

The memo noted that school guidelines could be revised throughout the school year as needed.