masks in schools

Archdiocese of Washington Lifts Mask Mandate in Its Maryland Schools

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The Archdiocese of Washington lifted its mask mandate in its Maryland schools – a huge relief for some parents but a source of stress for others.

At St. Jerome Academy in Hyattsville, a pre-K through eighth grade Catholic school with fewer than 500 students, there are differing opinions on masking.

"I think that it's about time for the parents to have the choice for their children," parent Julia Dickson said.

"I'm not all for lifting the mandate," parent Adrienne Desetages said.

The divide has resulted in the circulation of petitions within the school as some parents fight for masks and others don't.

"There’s definitely two sides of thought in this school, I guess,” parent Allan Walters said. “Some parents are not really taking COVID seriously and wanting this to be over with as quickly as possible, and I think there’s a group of parents who want to have safety precautions and remain in place."

"My kids are all little it's been tough to send them their entire school careers to school in masks,” parent Natalie Lahood. “I'm happy that we are at this point and that St. Jerome is leaving it in the hands of the parents, now, to make that decision what's best for the kids and their families."

The Archdiocese of Washington released a statement Thursday saying masks will no longer be required in its Maryland schools starting Tuesday. It went in to say, “This will enable our parents and staff to decide what they feel is right based upon their own situations. This approach balances the desires of those parents, students and staff who wish to continue to wear masks with those who do not, while still keeping our schools safe."

Moments later the principal of St. Jerome informed families of the change, but some parents were hoping for a dialogue.

"That's the way things are going where people are lifting the mandates and what not … and trying to get back into the swing of things, but we’re not in the swing of things,” Desetages said. “I just want to be more precautious."

“When you see what's going on across the country and that the mask mandates are going away all over the country, I think it's just time for the little ones to be done," Dickson said.

While the Archdiocese of Washington has lifted mask mandates in Maryland, they remain in place in D.C.

Gov. Larry Hogan is lifting mask mandates in state buildings next week, but in Prince George's County's and D.C., mask mandates are still in place in public schools.

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