PHILADELPHIA - Masks will be required for Archdiocese of Philadelphia students and staff this upcoming school year.
For years, many Catholic schools in Philadelphia struggled with enrollment, but then something surprising happened when COVID hit, interest in enrollment for schools like our Mother of Consolation Parish School actually went up because many Catholic schools never switched to remote learning.
"Parents are interested because we are in person five days a week. Their children having to sit in zoom for an entire year was really difficult for the children," school principal Patricia Sheetz said.
That’s especially true for students like 8th grader London Cooks. She says her mom brought her here as a new student just so she can have in-person learning.
'Like when you’re on the computer we can do more and be unfocused when we’re in school we’re up close and can focus better," Cooks explained.
- Philadelphia School Board votes to mandate COVID-19 vaccine for teachers, staff
- School District of Philadelphia will require teachers, students to wear masks in the fall
- Philadelphia School District updates safety guidelines for full return to in-person learning
- Gov. Murphy to require vaccines or testing for staff at all NJ schools
While in-person learning for this school year has the green light for Philly Catholic schools, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced this week masks will be required for all students and staff.
Sheetz says based on current data this is the best way to start the school year.
"Our major concern, we did so well with schools last year that we keep our little children safe and our younger ones who are not vaccinated," she said.
The Archdiocese is also strongly recommending that all members of the Catholic community receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
With some 210 students about to begin school next month and several dozen on a waitlist to get in, Sheetz says she hopes the mask requirement won't be necessary for too long.
"We’re hoping for the fall. We’re going to closely monitor the situation, yes. depending on the level of cases and also depending on the vaccines," she said.