Revised COVID-19 Plans for Catholic Schools

After receiving the Executive Order (21-175) Ensuring the Parents’ Freedom to Choose – Masks in Schools, signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday, July 30, 2021, Bishop Felipe Estévez and Deacon Scott Conway, superintendent of Catholic Schools, revised a COVID-19 safety plan for Catholic Schools in the Diocese of St. Augustine.

The original plan released to principals on Thursday, July 29, required masks to be worn indoors for all employees, faculty, staff, and students based on the Florida Department of Health data showing a high positivity rate in North Florida counties with Catholic schools.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is seen during a news conference in Tallahassee June 29, 2020. (CNS photo/USA TODAY NETWORK, Tori Lynn Schneider, Tallahassee Democrat via Reuters)

Effective July 30, updates to the COVID-19 policies for schools include:

  • Catholic schools will continue to have masks optional in all schools, but they are highly recommended during this high COVID positivity rate.
  • All visitors will be required to wear masks at this time, and schools will limit the number of visitors to their campuses.
  • All positive cases at a school will continue to be reported to the Office of the Superintendent for follow-up and the Florida Department of Health.
  • Families will continue to be notified of every positive case at a school.

“We need to continue to pray for each other and to an end to this pandemic. It takes all of us to stop the spread of this virus, and being vaccinated is critical to stopping the spread of this illness and taking more lives,” said Deacon Scott Conway, superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of St. Augustine. He added, “Like Polio, Measles, and so many other viruses, we have beat them by vaccinating against such horrific illnesses. If you are not vaccinated, please consider doing so for the sake of your neighbor.”

To read the full letter, click here.

There are 40 Catholic schools (5 high schools, 26  parish elementary schools, 7 early learning centers and 2 special education schools) in the Diocese of St. Augustine. The diocese encompasses 17 Northeast and North Central Florida counties, and seven counties have Catholic schools.