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Archdiocese of Miami allow parents to opt out of mask rules

Masks will now be optional indoors for students in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Miami Elementary and High School, if parents sign all necessary paperwork.

The diocese announced Tuesday that it will allow parents and legal guardians to sign forms allowing unvaccinated and partially vaccinated students to opt out of wearing masks in schools, effective immediately. The form can be found on the diocese’s website, along with the new mask policy.

Masks were already optional indoors for fully vaccinated students and teachers who submitted Department of Health vaccination cards to the school or were confirmed by the FL SHOTS database.

The diocese said in a statement that this latest decision was made after monitoring community statistics, using advice from physician advisors as well as guidance from the CDC and the Miami-Dade County Health Department.

“The rate of transmission is very low and there are more vaccines available for students,” said Marie Ross Agusta, a spokeswoman for the diocese. “We felt this was the time to live up to what we’ve said all along – that we’re going to study and match the data.”

In early November, Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Broward County Public Schools allowed parents to withdraw their students from states of the counties’ masks.

The diocese has an evolving policy when it comes to COVID safety measures in schools, and Agosta said that if the data goes negative again, the measures will be put in place.

With a worrying new species announced by the World Health Organization – Omicron – the diocese will closely monitor the data released and advice from health advisors and organisations, Agusta said.

“Priority number one is the safety of our children and our staff,” Agusta said. “Hopefully we won’t see another outbreak of any variant coming, and this will be a happy time for everyone in schools.”

The Archdiocese is still recommending students and staff get COVID-19 vaccinated.

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The Miami Herald Real Time Report Devoun Cetoute covers breaking news, the coronavirus epidemic in Florida, and the public mission. Graduated from the University of Florida and raised in Miami. Theme parks, movies, and cars are on his mind in and out of the office.

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