The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland announced this week that it will lift the mask mandate for students next month.

Why are Administrators Waiting Until March?

In a notice that went out to parents on Thursday, the Diocese revealed a plan to lift the mask mandate that's currently in place at all Maine Catholic elementary and high schools on Monday, March 7th. The decision was made to wait until next month in order for administrators to watch for any outbreaks or increases in COVID-19 case numbers. If that should happen, the ruling would be reviewed.

Marianne Pelletier, superintendent of Maine Catholic Schools says children learn better when they're sitting in class, as opposed to engaging in distance learning.

Thanks to the understanding, cooperation, and generosity of our school families, faculty, and staff, we were able to continue to provide a safe and healthy school environment for our students. It was a partnership that worked diligently to protect each other and the wider community.

The safety protocols, including masking requirements, have enabled Maine's Catholic Schools to facilitate in-person learning since September of 2020.

What if I Still Want my Child to Wear a Mask?

The lifting of the mandate does not mean that students can't wear masks, however. Whether or not students, teachers, and staff wear face coverings during school hours will be their own personal decision. The Diocese is merely lifting the requirement, opening the door to individual preference.

Which Schools will See the Lifted Mandate?

The schools affected by this decision include:

  • All Saints School in Bangor
  • Holy Cross School in Portland
  • St. Brigid School in Portland
  • Saint Dominic Academy in Auburn and Lewiston
  • St. James School in Biddeford
  • St. John's Catholic School in Brunswick
  • St. Michael School in Augusta
  • St. Thomas School in Sanford

This ruling could change if the number of positive cases surges in any town, city, or school. In that case, the mask mandate could be reinstated.

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