YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Diocese of Youngstown announced its decision on masks in its Catholic schools Friday.
The diocese will require masks for both students and adults inside all school buildings during the school day, including morning and aftercare. The mandate is effective immediately.
The rapid spread of the COVID-19 delta variant was cited as a factor in the decision.
The decision will be reviewed in mid-September after a review of data from the schools, local health departments, Ohio Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On Friday, the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown also updated masking guidelines for those attending Sunday and weekday Mass.
The guidelines have been temporarily revised to reinforce that anyone unvaccinated is required to wear a face covering while attending Mass. Those who are vaccinated are also encouraged to wear face coverings.
The Diocese also says anyone ill, with a significant health risk or who cares for someone who is compromised or ill, is exempt from attending Mass on Sunday and Holy Days. This includes those who have significant fear or anxiety of contracting the coronavirus in a large group of people.
There are no seating restrictions at this time, and the Sign of Peace is not suspended; however, shaking hands is. The Diocese encourages spoken words of peace or bowing.