Mask Mandate in Schools
Masks have been required in schools since the pandemic, which began on March 11, 2020. However, starting on March 12, 2022, masks will not be required for students and staff in almost all of the school districts in California, regardless of vaccination status. It will not be required in schools, but it is strongly recommended for everyone on campus and is still required in high transmission settings.
“I’ve been pleased with how the data has come down, and it is the right time to transition from the requirements to a strong recommendation,” stated Dr. Markly Ghaly, California secretary of Health and Human Services. The daily average COVID-19 cases on March 2-8 was 3,113, which is a 27.5% decrease compared to the daily average on Feb. 23 - March 1.
LAUSD, Los Angeles Unified School District, has not decided to lift the mask mandate despite state and local guidance giving students the choice to take off masks or keep them. They have said that they are not ready to drop the mask mandate. According to reports, LAUSD has agreed with the local teachers’ union to keep the masks required throughout the rest of the school year unless they make a renegotiation.
Even though schools are lifting mask mandates, a recent poll conducted by UC Berkeley has found that 61% of school-aged children’s parents support mask mandates. Despite accusations from parents, Lisa Gardiner, the spokesperson for the California Teachers’ Association, denied delaying the lifting of the mandate for safe transition for school management. The case rates of COVID-19 are indeed declining after the Omicron surge, but the pandemic has not ended yet and we should stay aware of the pandemic.
By Jiyun Seo