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Archdiocese schools ease pandemic restrictions for upcoming school year

Extracurricular activities will resume and masks will not be required for vaccinated students.

St. Genevieve Catholic School, 4854 W. Montana St., Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020.
Archdiocese of Chicago schools will resume extracurricular activities and school Masses when classes resume.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

Archdiocese of Chicago schools plan to return to “near-normal, pre-pandemic operations” when students, teachers and staff return for the school year.

School Masses, athletics, music programs and field trips will be restored for students, the archdiocese announced Tuesday. Masks will not be not mandated for vaccinated students, teachers and staff under the ease COVID-19 restrictions.

Proof of vaccination for eligible students will be encouraged come fall to aid contact tracing and determine if quarantine is necessary. Vaccinated students will not be required to quarantine if they come into close contact with a person who tests positive for COVID-19.

“We hope there will be no need to require proof, but we will continue to evaluate that with guidance from health officials and our medical advisers and public health officials,” said Justin Lombard, chief of human resources and chair of the Archdiocesan COVID-19 Task Force. “We are encouraging staff and students eligible to receive the vaccine to get it.”

Remaining safety protocols for the 2021-2022 academic year require that students with COVID-19 symptoms stay home and classrooms maintain 3 feet of indoor physical distance when possible. This is in compliance with recent CDC guidance.

Safety guidelines for unvaccinated individuals will be released by early August.

“It’s wise to wait till we’re closer to the start of the school year to make a determination on mask requirements,” Lombard said. “It’s a fluid time. In all 50 states, infections are rising.”

The Archdiocese of Chicago serves about 45,000 students in 162 Catholic schools.