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Students plan to wear no masks on first day of school, despite Diocese of Venice mandate

Posted at 5:03 AM, Aug 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-09 10:39:53-04

FORT MYERS, Fla — Parents and students plan to protest the new mask mandate at local catholic schools Monday morning.

The Diocese of Venice in Florida made the announcement last week.

As the school bell gets set to ring at Bishop Verot Catholic High School at 7:30 a.m., several parents said their kids will be walking in with no mask and will decline one if school staff offers.

They said their goal is to see whether the school will allow them to stay or make them go home.

Masks are being temporarily required at catholic schools in counties with a positivity rate of 10% or greater. Last week, the positivity rate in Lee County was 20.8%.

Despite the numbers, parents at local catholic schools have been disappointed, with some saying they're looking into other schooling options.

“We were a little bit disappointed and I have to look a little bit optimistic in that right but then my phone started blowing up with our dad’s group. All the dads are saying, ‘did you read your email?’ So with that being said, there was a lot of dismay and a lot of people were like ‘I’m pulling out’ or we have to go somewhere else," said James Didio, whose children attend St. Francis Xavier School.

The catholic school mandate applies to 16 schools, nine of which are in Southwest Florida.

When the positivity rate falls below 10%, masks will be optional again.

Following concern from parents who say this violates their rights, Bishop Frank J. Dewane issued this statement:

It states that the optional mask policy needed to be adjusted due to the severity of the delta variant, and goes on to remind that this measure is temporary and that online school is still an option.

Those planning to show up with no masks Monday said they'll arrive by 7:00 a.m. Fox 4 will keep you posted on what happens.