After two years of the mandates, students in the San Diego Unified School District were able to take off their masks and finally enjoy the freedom of breathing with full lungs this Monday. This was the first time since 2020 that kids were not mandated to wear masks in schools.
This is the letter that they sent out, which states that they were keeping mandates over and over again but this time because of the upcoming primaries, they have decided to end it:
Dear San Diego Unified community,
As COVID-19 cases in our community have started to fall, we have been working with our scientific and medical experts to plan for an “off ramp” to end some of the more restrictive health measures in place. Two weeks ago, we spoke with our advisors from UC San Diego, the majority felt at that time that removing a mask mandate was premature, as the local COVID-19 case rate remained high. Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) moved San Diego County into the lowest level of concern. For that reason, we believe it is appropriate to update our safety measures at this time.
Students, families, staff, and visitors on campus and at district sites will no longer be required to wear masks indoors following Spring Break, when they return on April 4, 2022 . All other COVID-19 safety mitigations and protections including; air filtration, testing, handwashing, distancing when possible, self-screening for symptoms, case management, and contact tracing will remain in place. Again, following Spring Break, masks will be strongly recommended but no longer required (except when required by public health orders under special circumstances, such as students attending school while quarantining.)
We will once again provide all students and staff with at-home COVID-19 tests to use before returning to campus following Spring Break. This strategy worked extremely well before Winter Break, and we are grateful to have enough tests to be able to repeat the process. By testing before returning from Spring Break, staff and families can ensure that they are not returning to campus with a COVID infection. We will also continue to monitor federal, state and local guidelines and remain ready to return to indoor masking if our community were to enter a higher level of concern.
In maintaining our mask mandate through the start of Spring Break, we are acknowledging that this is a major change that will require difficult decisions for many. It will also require a lot of work by our educators, administrators, and support staff to ensure we continue keeping all families safe. Most of all, it will require education to ensure every individual’s masking decision is respected by other students and colleagues. Creating a culture of compassion and kindness will help all students adapt to these changes.
Civility and respect for one another will be essential during this month of transition. As a community, we can be proud of the steps we have taken together to keep one another safe. At the same time, we acknowledge the fact that many families are grieving due to a loved one lost too soon to COVID-19. Our children will be watching how we support one another in the months ahead. Please take this time to discuss what lessons your family will take away from this exceptional time.
Of course, every family is unique and every child will have unique social and emotional needs during these changes. Please remain in partnership with your school leaders, teachers, staff, and counselors; share how your student is processing these changes. If you need help, we now have a vastly expanded support network in place to help your student move forward with confidence. Asking for help is the first step.
Thank you for your continued support, as we prepare to return to a more normal school experience following Spring Break. We hope you all enjoy these next few weeks of learning and that you are able to use the time afterwards to rest and recharge over the break.
San Diego Unified School District
Executive Director of Nursing and Wellness, Susan Barndollar, from the San Diego Unified School District, joined KUSI “Good Evening San Diego” and discussed how SDUSD’s first day back without masks ensued. Barndollar said that masks will still be required in health spaces such as the nurses offices and COVID testing areas.
She believes that the first day without masks was done well. Kids did enjoy their freedom, however, some of the students still chose to wear masks indoors and out. Masks are no longer mandatory for them, however, they will be “recommended”. Barndollar also said that they are following the county health guidelines when it comes to events and that their policy regarding events would change if the county updated their policy.
Photo Cred: Point Loma and OB Monthly/ San Diego Union-Tribune