Masks and liability waivers mandatory for Catholic schools’ reopening

Masks and liability waivers mandatory for Catholic schools’ reopening

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — The Diocese of St. Augustine announced Thursday its schools will reopen on Aug. 19, more than a week after its original start date.

The start date was pushed back to allow deliveries of personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies and technology devices to arrive.

Only Action News Jax spoke with the superintendent of catholic schools, Deacon Scott Conway, who explained what parents and students can expect this year.

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Since May, school leaders at the Catholic Center for the Diocese of St. Augustine have been planning how students and staff can safely return to class.

Conway said parents and staff can expect many changes.

“We’ll be adding this year that everyone will wear a mask,” Conway said.

The diocese has also purchased "electrostatic sprayers" that they've already been using inside parishes and early learning centers which never closed.

“It uses a chemical that becomes ionized and sticks to surfaces,” Conway said.

The diocese has 38 schools in seven counties.

Conway said they've been reaching out to parents to see how comfortable they are in allowing their kids back.

“What we’re seeing in the numbers right now is it looks like about 80% want to come back to brick and mortar,” he said.

For those students who do return, their parents or guardians will be required to sign a waiver. 

“Just to make sure people understand that there’s a possibility you could get COVID but there’s no way for us to know if you’re going to receive it at school or someplace else,” he said. “Those waivers have been recommended by our attorneys to have in place.”

Virtual learning will still be an option for those who aren't comfortable going back yet.

Field trips and other activities have also been canceled.

“We’re going to have to continue to keep monitoring and changing our plan to match what’s happening in the world,” Conway said.