CHICAGO (CBS)– The Archdiocese of Chicago announced the closure of all Catholic schools due to the threat of coronavirus.
In addition to closing schools, Cardinal Blase J. Cupich announced the suspension of Mass starting Saturday evening. Churches will remain open for private prayer, and churches capable of broadcasting their Masses on television or online are encouraged to do so.
The schools will be closed starting March 16 and it has not yet been determined how long the closure will last.
“This decision applies to all Catholic schools in Cook and Lake Counties operated by the Archdiocese of Chicago,” the superintendent of Catholic Schools said in a written statement. “Catholic schools not operated by the archdiocese, such as those governed by religious orders, will make decisions individually.”
While public Mass will be suspended starting Saturday, weddings and funerals scheduled for that day may proceed, but with no more than 250 people attending.
Staff at the Archdiocese Pastoral Center and at schools are being told to work from home. Staffing at individual parishes will be up to the pastor.
An announcement will be made when a date for schools to reopen is determined.