Local School Board Members Speak on Changes to Mask Requirements

Written by Bobbie Wylie

On Monday, dozens of people gathered at Rancho Santa Fe Unified Headquarters to hear various local school board members speak on California’s recent announcement to drop masking requirements in schools beginning March 11. 

Andrew Hayes, Lakeside Union School Board member and organizer for School Board Members for Local Control, questioned why the state decided to choose a date nearly two weeks away instead of changing masking requirements in schools immediately. “California is a big state and that’s why local control is so important. We need to use local metrics and local conditions to determine whether or not we have mask mandates,” Hayes said. “Many of us are asking why two weeks? The state is once again moving the ball two weeks.”

The Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, Dr. Mark Ghaly, said that waiting two weeks gives the state time for cases and hospitalizations to decrease even further.

Seventeen other districts are represented in the School Board Members for Local Control coalition including representatives from Rancho Santa Fe Unified. Rancho Santa Fe Unified board member Annette Ross said, “We’re not unmasking anyone and if you feel comfortable wearing it and if it feels they make it safer you can make those decisions based on your knowledge of your health situation.” Ross continued, saying “People can have differences of opinion and still be together, work together, be kind, and forge some sort of future together.”

Several members of the School Board Members for Local Control coalition expressed concerns regarding consistency in enforcement of mandates if certain metrics are triggered. “We want to see more clarity from Sacramento – is it local control right now, but then it changes in a week if something happens? This is very confusing for fellow board members,” Hayes said.

The message among all members was clear – parents should be allowed to choose what is right for their children and local control should be reinstated for school boards to base local decisions on local metrics.

Photo Cred: Rancho Santa Fe Post