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Bridgeport catholic schools will delay lifting its mask mandate to comply with state

COVID mask

Steven Cheeseman, the superintendent for the Diocese of Bridgeport catholic schools, said he will, “under protest,” postpone his decision to give students and staff the option to wear masks, as of Monday, Feb. 14.

This comes after the state Department of Education pushed back on that idea. A state legal director said the move would be too early and a violation of state law.

Earlier this week, Cheeseman wrote in a letter to parents that his initial decision to lift the mandate — 14 days before the state eased the school mask mandate on February 28 — was due to low COVID-19 positivity rates and high vaccination rates among faculty, staff and eligible students.

In a statement, Cheeseman called any extension of Governor Ned Lamont’s mandate by the Legislature after February 28 “an overreach.” He also said the decision gives the state Department of Education increased control over catholic schools, setting a “dangerous precedent.”

“I know many of you may be disappointed,” Cheesman wrote to parents. “I call on each of you, as well as our neighboring dioceses and leaders in faith across our communities, to recognize this infringement and join in the public discourse by standing up for the rights of parents and leaders in private religious schools.”

Lamont said he will allow local school districts to make the decision whether to require masks.

Mike Lyle is a former reporter and host at WSHU.
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