Catholic schools in Diocese of Peoria will comply with Pritzker mask mandate

The 42 Catholic schools in the Diocese of Peoria will follow Gov. JB Pritzker's mandate for universal masking in all schools in Illinois, from pre-kindergarten through high school, according to a statement released Aug. 4 by Dr. Sharon Weiss, superintendent. (Catholic Post file photo/Jennifer Willems)

Citing the high transmission rates of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and the fact that vaccines have not yet been approved for children younger than 12, Gov. JB Pritzker on Aug. 4 announced a universal mask mandate for all schools and day cares. It is effective immediately and applies to everyone regardless of vaccination status.

This action is in keeping with the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, he said.

Dr. Sharon Weiss

While the 42 Catholic schools of the Diocese of Peoria had been preparing for a return to school with parents making the decision on whether or not their child would wear a mask, Dr. Sharon Weiss said the Office of Catholic Schools would be directing the schools to comply with Gov. Pritzker’s executive order mandating the wearing of masks for in-person learning. Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, and Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka approved the decision.

“The Catholic Diocese of Peoria has the greatest concern and care for God’s children, and we will do what is required by the Governor to hopefully, eradicate COVID-19 and its variants,” Weiss’ statement said.

See the full text of her statement below.

Statement from the Superintendent of Schools

With the approval of Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, and the Most Reverend Louis Tylka, the Office of Catholic Schools will be directing our 42 diocesan elementary and secondary schools to comply with Governor JB Pritzker’s Executive Order mandating the wearing of masks for in-person learning in our schools.

In his press conference, the Governor noted that to support safe in-person learning requires that masks be worn indoors by all teachers, staff, students, and visitors in our PK-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.

The Catholic Diocese of Peoria has the greatest concern and care for God’s children, and we will do what is required by the Governor to hopefully, eradicate COVID-19 and its variants.

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