The Archdiocese of Boston is facing backlash from parents after issuing a mandate that restricts Catholic schools from requiring unvaccinated students and staff to wear masks indoors.
Parents described the decision by Superintendent of Catholic Schools Thomas W. Carroll as “utterly baffling, reckless, and negligent,” and “anxiety-ridden,” The Boston Globe reported.
According to the guidance released by the Catholic Schools Office in May and updated on Aug. 6, no vaccinated individuals can be required to wear masks indoors, with “narrow” exceptions for specific areas such as nurses' offices, or in situations that have students working in close proximity to each other. All exceptions are up to the discretion of the school, the office said.
For unvaccinated students, schools have three options: leave mask decisions up to the discretion of parents, require masks for unvaccinated only in classrooms with an immunocompromised student or staff member or require masks for all unvaccinated students and staff.
If hospitalizations increase, or cases tick up in schools, Carroll told the Globe he would “reconsider the position.”
Currently, diocesan schools are not allowed to mandate vaccines, though all schools must comply with local health orders, according to the Catholic Schools Office guidance. Masks are required on school buses, per a federal mandate.