Diocese of Palm Beach Catholic schools planning to make masks optional in fall

Memo from diocese says masks would be 'highly recommended' under modified policy, barring 'unforeseen circumstances'
St. Ann Catholic School facade, July 23, 2020
Posted at 12:45 PM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-13 12:59:45-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Teachers and students at Catholic schools in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast will be required to continue wearing masks through the end of the school year, but the Diocese of Palm Beach is planning to make them optional in the fall.

The diocese's Office of Catholic Schools sent a memorandum to parents Wednesday explaining its plans to modify the facial covering policy for the 2021-22 academic year.

Currently, face masks are required for students and faculty throughout the diocese to prevent the spread of coronavirus. A mask policy has been in place since the start of the current school year.

However, under the modified policy for the 2021-22 school year, masks would be "highly recommended for students, employees, administrators and those who are on campus on a regular basis."

The memo went on to say that parents "have the option of their child not wearing a facial covering on campus."

Visitors and volunteers will still be required to wear masks. The memo also noted that there may be times when everyone on Catholic school campuses "would be expected to wear a facial covering or mask," like during mass or large indoor assemblies "at the discretion of the principal."

"As we all know, the pandemic has been somewhat unpredictable, and plans must remain fluid as we monitor for an increase in cases or other unforeseen circumstances that could require a review of these new guidelines," the memo said.

Okeechobee and Indian River County school districts are no longer requiring masks. St. Lucie, Martin and Palm Beach County school districts are still requiring masks through the end of the academic year.

Click here for a full list of Catholic schools in the diocese.