By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is making mask wearing mandatory for all of its K-12 Catholic school students.

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It is mandatory regardless of any students’ vaccination status.

In a statement, Director of Catholic Schools Michelle Peduto said, “Although we had hoped to be in a position to allow optional masking, that is not possible at this point in time. The protocols for quarantining in an optional-mask environment would significantly compromise our ability to provide in-person instruction. We must evaluate how the first month of classroom instruction impacts COVID numbers for students of all ages.”

Diocese officials say their masking policies follow guidelines from county, state and federal public health agencies, and the counsel of local pediatric and infectious disease physicians.

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The policies include:

  • Masks are required inside all school buildings (Pre-K to 12) for all staff and students who are two years or older, unless medical or developmental conditions prohibit their use. This includes all vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Frequent mask breaks should be provided, which is best done outside.
  • Masks are required on buses and public transportation. All bus regulations must be followed in order for students to utilize those services.
  • Configurations of classrooms and lunchrooms will employ physical distancing strategies in the least restrictive manner possible, while maintaining a safe environment.
  • School employees and students will continue to focus on hand hygiene.
  • Schools will continue to adhere to cleaning and disinfecting procedures.
  • Schools will continue to keep classrooms properly ventilated and will conduct as many activities as possible outside.
  • Positive COVID cases will continue to be reported to the appropriate health departments. We will continue to follow their guidance on quarantines, in accordance with CDC guidelines.

The diocese says they will revisit the mask policy in late September after the school year has gotten underway.

They say, “As was the case last year, these policies are subject to change, based on updated federal, state and county guidance.”

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