California Indoor Mask Mandate For Schools Will End March 12

Written by William Hekman

After the mask mandate was lifted for the state, many questioned whether or not the mandate would be lifted in schools for children. The indoor mask mandate for children continued while adults simply had the choice to wear one. 

Governor Newsom announced that the indoor mask mandate for schools will be ending on March 12th. Masks will no longer be mandated but will be “highly recommended”. Also in the announcement came that unvaccinated people will no longer be required to wear masks outdoors and will be “strongly recommended” for everyone regardless of vaccination status indoors. Masks will still be required for everyone and certain places and for certain jobs such as healthcare facilities, airports, transit centers, and homeless shelters. In a statement, Newsom said, “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.” The governors of Oregon and Washington joined Newsom in also ending their mandates on the same date. 

While the state will no longer be mandating masks in schools, local school districts will still have the authority to maintain local requirements if there are any in place. Liberal areas like San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles have all had more stringent requirements than the state, especially in regards to businesses. Some districts like Los Angeles Unified have been under fire and sued over their policies. 

While many are applauding the move, others are questioning the timing of the announcement. With President Biden’s State of the Union address happening Tuesday, many have questioned whether the change in policy came so that Biden could say they have made progress in re-opening schools. 

Photo Cred:  Ringo Chiu/Zuma Press