School Mask Requirement Update

Boston Catholic Schools Office - January 12, 2022


Dear School Leaders,

The Archdiocese of Boston has decided to extend existing mask requirements for its schools to February 28, 2022. This step means the Archdiocese will be continuing to track Governor Charlie Baker’s masking requirements for students and personnel in public schools.

In consultation with Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Thomas W. Carroll, the Superintendent of Catholic Schools, has decided to continue existing Covid-related health safeguards. These safeguards for the current and past school year have kept students in Archdiocesan schools safe during the global pandemic.

We have prioritized keeping our schools open, but to do so requires maintaining safeguards that will protect students, faculty, and their older relatives. These safeguards include social distancing, washing hands, keeping buildings clean, and the masking of students and staff. Without mask requirements in place at this time, we believe that our ability to keep schools open would be compromised seriously.

We understand that some parents are tiring of masks, and that they feel very strongly they should have the right to decide the mask policy for their own children. Given the high number of Covid cases, however, we believe that all of us must act together to protect each other. We also recognize that placing teachers and school personnel in a mask-optional environment will imperil our ability to keep schools open, which all parents have as their highest priority.

Governor Baker has carved out carefully considered exemptions for children five and under and any student whose physician indicates a medical condition makes wearing a mask inadvisable.

Also, at schools where 80 percent or more of students are vaccinated, the Governor would allow vaccinated students and teachers to not wear a mask. The Archdiocese will voluntarily follow these state rules as well. With Catholic schools, instead of filing a notice with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the leaders of Catholic schools attaining an 80 percent or more vaccination rate will file a notice with the Catholic Schools Office if they choose to exercise this option.

These Archdiocesan decisions apply to Archdiocesan-related schools and parochial schools. Although we do not mandate such rules for Catholic independent schools or schools run by religious orders, the Cardinal and I respectfully request their consideration of this approach.

Thomas W. Carroll

Superintendent of Catholic Schools

Archdiocese of Boston