On Monday Governor Gavin Newsom that after March 11 no masks will be required to be worn in schools in California. This new order will apply to schools and child care facilities.
“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,” Newsom said in a statement. “Masks are an effective tool to minimize 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.”
Newsom said that although masks will not be required, it is still highly recommended that masks be worn in schools. Masks will still be required to be worn in high public settings.
“We are really moving from required masking to a strong recommendation at a time when I know a lot of jurisdictions are going to look to the State and our evidence to support a decision, to continue masking in some parts of our communities,” said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly at a news conference Monday. “There is clear evidence that masks do help and reduce transmission.”
Newsom also said he will continue to focus on scaling back provisions while maintaining essential testing, vaccination and health care system support that ensure California has the needed tools and flexibility to strategically adapt our response for what lies ahead.
This does not mean that all school districts in California will no longer require masks in school, some districts will still enforce it.
Superintendent of the Delano Union Elementary School District, Rosalina Rivera, said all staff would be kept updated in regards to masking updates from the Kern County Superintendent of Schools (KCSOS) and the Kern County Public Health Services Department.
“What we know at this time is that there are many variables to be considered for Kern County and if we will need to implement the March 11th recommended mask mandate timeline,” said Rivera. “Given that our county is a high risk COVID area (as determined by the CDC COVID mapping by county), we are eager to hear from our Kern County Public Health Department tomorrow to receive local masking mandate guidance and our timeline for implementation.”
The Kern County Superintendent of Schools said they will continue to work collaboratively with Kern’s 46 local school districts and Public Health to ensure that schools continue to remain open for in-person instruction and that students are safe.
“We welcome this news as COVID rates continue to decline and we learn more about the successful strategies to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on students and families,” said the Kern County Superintendent of Schools.
This order comes nearly a month after the universal indoor mask mandate was lifted and it is due to the decrease in COVID-19 cases and hospitalization. This new order will lie in the hands of school districts whether they want to implement it or not.
According to the KCSOS, CalOSHA is expected to align their guidance with the Administration and lift ehe mask mandates for staff in school settings. However, KCSOS is still waiting for a response from CalOSHA.
“I know that some people are concerned about what the next 10, 11 days bring,” said Ghaly. “But I’m confident that we will continue to see the schools keep masks on. No, it won’t happen everywhere, but I think in the vast majority, the message will be the anticipation for preparing around a change, if that’s what the district decides.”