PEORIA (WEEK) - The Catholic Diocese of Peoria announced Wednesday that parents and guardians will decide if their children should wear face masks or receive the COVID-19 vaccine to start the 2021-2022 school year.
In a statement, the church officials said it consulted other Illinois dioceses and reviewed guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Illinois Board of Education before issuing their directive.
The Diocese cited CDC guidance issued earlier this month stating that schools can "remove any of the prevention strategies" if local COVID conditions don't indicate an increase in community transmission levels. The Diocese said it will continue to "closely monitor" those conditions.
The Catholic Diocese of Peoria runs 43 elementary and secondary schools, has 9,600 students, and 850 teachers in 26 counties.