BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Masks and face coverings will be optional this year for students in area Catholic schools.
The Diocese of Peoria–which includes Bloomington-Normal–announced Wednesday a face-covering won’t be required at all 42 of its schools.
The diocese covers 17,000 sq. miles and represents 26 counties in the state.
Families who choose to attend Bloomington’s Central Catholic High School, as well as its elementary school affiliates, can choose for themselves whether students should wear their masks to school or be vaccinated.
Four Diocese of Peoria Catholic schools are in the Twin Cities.
This year, students attending Central Catholic High School can expect a five days a week, in-person class schedule with daily bell schedules for classes going back to its regular times.
Director of Admissions and Marketing at Central Catholic Scott Vogel said this year, remote learning won’t be offered as an alternative and all Saints will be in-person for class.
“Everybody will be in the school and that’s something that is going really help everyone learn. They’re all going be in the same classroom together, learning from the same teacher, hearing the same lessons, being able to interact and work with each other to come up with solutions to problems and have that full school experience,” Vogel said.
Vogel said the school, as well as the diocese, are not mandating the vaccine, however many Saints staff and families have been vaccinated.
“That decision is theirs and our decision for our faculty and staff is each of theirs, so if they decided to get vaccinated, we anticipate they come without masks. If they decide not to be vaccinated, we anticipate they’ll come with masks and be safe and aware of everyone around them,” Vogel said.
Masks are still required on busses per CDC guidelines.
McLean County Unit 5 District leaders announced at the regularly scheduled board meeting Wednesday night that they will decide the masking requirements at a special meeting set for Wednesday, July 28th.
Le Roy CUSD #2 will also hold a special meeting on July 28th.
Bloomington District 87 is also undecided on the masking issue, but does not have any special meetings on the calendar at this time.
Wednesday night, Heyworth CUSD #4 leaders approved an optional masking policy.