Catholic schools in the Diocese of San Diego will accept “any” personal belief exemption for the coronavirus vaccine once California’s mandate for schoolchildren goes into effect. 

“In implementing any legal mandate for Covid vaccinations that includes a personal belief exemption, the Catholic schools of the Diocese of San Diego will accept any parents request for exemption as valid,” said a Nov. 1 letter to school pastors and principals from the diocese’s Offices for Schools and Communications & Public Affairs. 

“The consensus among legislative analysts with whom we have spoken is that it is unlikely that the legislature will give legislative approval for a mandate without a personal belief exemption,” they said. 

On Oct. 1, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that all children enrolled in public, charter, or private schools aged 12 and older would need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, albeit with personal belief exemptions. This mandate goes into effect January 2022. 

The mandate has proven divisive even ahead of its implementation, said the diocese. 

“The question of Covid mandates divides our parent communities as it divides our societies,” they said. “We hope that this course of action by the diocese balances the need to protect the health of our students, teachers and staffs with the rights of parents to decide issues vital to their children.” 

Full story at Catholic News Agency.