Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Feb. 28 that effective March 12, the Golden State will no longer require face masks in schools and child care facilities. He added that instead of requiring face coverings, California will just “strongly recommend” their use in classrooms. Newsom’s lifting of mask mandates for schools and child care facilities followed his decision to lift the state’s universal indoor mask mandate in early February 2022, the Sacramento Bee reported.
In addition, the California government lifted the indoor mask mandate for unvaccinated Californians on the same day. Prior to this, the state required those who have not been injected with the COVID-19 vaccine to mask up indoors. But beginning March 1 – masks “will be recommended, but not required for unvaccinated individuals in most public indoor settings.”
However, the repeal of mask mandates in California is not absolute. They are still required for all individuals in settings with high risk of COVID-19 transmission. These include public transportation, homeless shelters, emergency shelters, health care facilities, long-term care facilities and correctional facilities. Local jurisdictions will be able to require more stringent policies at their call.
Newsom said in a statement: “California continues to adjust our policies based on the latest data and science, applying what we’ve learned over the past two years to guide our response to the pandemic. Masks are an effective tool to minimize [the] spread of the virus and future variants, especially when transmission rates are high. We cannot predict the future of the virus, but we are better prepared for it and will continue to take measures rooted in science to keep California moving forward.”
California’s move to lift mask mandates coincides with that of its West Coast neighbors Oregon and Washington. The Beaver State is set to drop indoor mask mandates in schools on March 12. The Evergreen State will lift indoor mask requirements at the same date, and will then rescind mask mandates in schools on March 21.
Some schools eschewed mask mandates before Newsom’s announcement
As of writing, the three West Coast states are among the 13 states with mask mandates in classrooms still in place. The continued mandates have drawn ire from conservatives and some parent groups. A number of school districts in California dropped the mandates ahead of Newsom’s Feb. 28 announcement.
California Small School Districts’ Association (SSDA) Executive Director Tim Taylor said most schools in the state’s rural districts have decided to stop punishing students who refuse to mask up. SSDA represents 600 school districts and charter schools in the Golden State.
“A lot of districts throughout the state are loosening up and just trying to get through the next two weeks. Parents are getting upset and saying ‘Everything is maskless except schools,'” Taylor told KRON 4.
Aside from the rural schools part of SSDA, Roseville Joint Union High School District (RJUHSD) has also made face coverings optional for all its students. The school district serves 12,000 students at nine schools in Placer County, located east of the state capital Sacramento.
Roseville’s school board passed a resolution on Feb. 10 putting an end to mask mandates for students. RJUHSD Superintendent John Becker wrote a letter to families and staff members about the decision, citing the need to protect students’ physical, social and emotional health as a main factor.
He quoted school board president, Scott Huber, in the letter: “We are aware of the growing mental health concerns of our young people, and we are taking the initiative to allow students and families to decide which option is best for them.”
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Watch the video of students from a California school walking out in protest of mask mandates below.
This video is from the GalacticStorm channel on Brighteon.com.
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