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Baton Rouge Diocese backtracks; masks optional for students returning to school in the fall

2 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago Wednesday, July 14 2021 Jul 14, 2021 July 14, 2021 9:57 AM July 14, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

UPDATE: On Thursday evening, the Diocese of Baton Rouge released a statement saying masks were optional for those returning to school in the fall. There will also be no requirement to prove vaccination status, and daily temperature checks have been eliminated. 

This is a developing story. Read the original below. 

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BATON ROUGE - The Catholic Schools Office of the Diocese of Baton Rouge this week announced an updated set of COVID-related guidelines for the 2021-22 school year.

The requirements include the stipulation that unvaccinated students in third grade and up wear masks and practice social distancing while in school.

The decision was made by the Catholic Schools Office and local school officials have insinuated that its implementation requires further discussion. 

Some parents were frustrated over the announcement Wednesday.

"Being that the mask mandate has dropped, being that they have been unmasked all summer for months, they've been with each other at summer camp, at sporting events, in public places, it doesn't make sense now that we're going back to school to mask up again," said Kymbre Messina, who has kids at St. George.

The diocese and superintendent were seemingly aware of the decision's unpopularity, saying in a letter to parents they "will allow for reevaluation and relaxation of safety protocols during the school year and promise that we will remain flexible in considering updates as they are received."

But some parents aren't waiting for that. More than 4,000 signatures were gathered for an online petition Wednesday evening, and others are wanting to take it a step further.

"It's a shame it's come to this, but hit 'em where it hurts. Pull your tithing. Pull your donations. Don't volunteer until our voices are heard," parent Chip Robert said.

Click here to review the full Return-to-School policy.

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