Masks Still Required in Schools Despite End of Statewide Mandate

Written by Bobbie Wylie

The statewide mask mandate in California expires today, but not for school children. The Newsom administration announced Monday that any decisions to end mask mandates in schools will be postponed until February 28 at the earliest. 

The announcement came from Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s Secretary of Health and Human Services where he said that by February 28, “we anticipate being able to share what the next period of time will look like and, with some specificity, give a date when the masking requirement will move to a recommendation,” regarding mask mandates in schools.

It is unsurprising that many parents and local school officials are frustrated by the state’s inconsistency. California’s statewide indoor mask mandate is set to expire Tuesday for vaccinated residents, and on Sunday Los Angeles hosted the Super Bowl with tens of thousands of fans, including many celebrities and politicians, many of whom were seen without face coverings.

Local group “School Board Members for Local Control” held a press conference Monday to voice what they believe is the best plan going forward for students and parents alike. Organizer and Lakeside Union School District Board Member Andrew Hayes said, “Over the past two years we have faced mandate after mandate from Sacramento, with zero to no support from Sacramento bureaucrats. So what we’re here today is for no more. No more one size fits all policies. Let school districts have local control”. Hayes laid out three major policy requests for Governor Newsom . Those policies include local control over mask policies, an end to the State of Emergency in California, and legislation that removes personal belief exemptions for vaccinations. 

Hayes, who wrote to Governor Newsom in December urging him to end the state of emergency and give back local control, said in a press release Monday, “School Board Members have a responsibility to advocate for our districts and communities. Local control allows us to do just that by making decisions based on local conditions. Every district and community are different. One size fits all policy from Sacramento places unnecessary burdens on families, teachers, staff, and district administrators.” 

Photo Cred: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times