Dear Saint John the Evangelist School Families,
I hope this note finds you warm. As you are all aware, the Diocese of Arlington has reviewed the Executive Order from Governor Youngkin’s office and decided that schools are not exempt from the Order; parents have the right to choose whether their children wear masks in schools or not. This decision was approved by our Bishop Michael Burbidge late Thursday afternoon.
Beginning Monday, January 24th, parents can choose to have their child not wear a mask in school.
Our other mitigation strategies will remain in place at the moment, and we will continue to work with the Health Department for guidelines. The protocol for a student who returns to school after isolating for five days is for that student to wear a mask on days 6-10.
If you are conflicted as to whether to send your children in masks or not, please review the following points:
- Individuals testing positive will remain out of school for five days before they will be allowed to return on days 6-10, wearing a mask. If you do not want your children to wear a mask following the five days, they can remain home for the entirety of the isolation timeframe, which is currently set at 10 days.
- Students will continue to be sent home for fevers, multiple symptoms, and as soon as we are notified that an immediate family member has tested positive.
- Staff members will be able to wear masks, but masks will not be required.
- We will not enforce masking regardless of whether individuals are expected to wear masks or not to wear masks.
- At this time, our current quarantine policies remain in place. All of these points are subject to change depending on updated guidance or directives from the Office of Catholic Schools
- Please note that the Diocesan Mask Election Form sent on Friday electronically and by hard copy can be changed at any time by completing a new form and submitting it to the main office.
Throughout the pandemic, our goal has been to ensure in-person education to the fullest extent possible. At every step, we have prayed and looked to the model of Our Lady, who said “Yes” to God and put her faith and trust in Him. We, as a community, are blessed that we have the freedom to pray and place our trust in God.
With trust in mind, I pray that our community will continue to come together as we attempt to bring our students closer to Christ. Please speak with your children about your choice moving forward. Our staff will respect your wishes; no child should feel pressured to wear a mask or not to wear a mask. It is also critical that your children (our students) do not look to their classmates with fear or anger at another family’s choice on this topic. We are a community under Christ and pray this divisive topic does not cause strife or hurt feelings that prove difficult to heal. In this time of continued conflict in our nation, let us pray for one another.
In closing, our mission remains the same, to partner with our parents while bringing our students closer to God. Our priests, faculty, and staff will continue to dedicate themselves to this goal. Until next time, let us continue to pray, learn, and serve… the vulnerable and less fortunate.