California school districts will decide for themselves how to enforce mask-wearing rules

  • 2022-05-24
  • 1283

California officials this week announced a ban on students not wearing masks from entering campus, only to rescind the rule hours later, with the latest revision allowing local school officials to decide how to enforce masks and deal with students who refuse to wear them.

The state issued a formal order at 3 p.m. Monday: "In addition to having immunity, students who are unable to comply with California Department of Health guidelines for wearing masks will not be able to enter campus and will be offered other educational opportunities instead."

But at 7:25 p.m. that night, the California Department of Health tweeted another change, and a spokesman for the governor’s office later confirmed that the mask-wearing rule would be changed to local officials’ discretion.

As the new school year nears, California health and education officials are concerned about an increase in cases of the "Delta" variant.

California Surgeon General Mark Ghaly emphasized that the state is following the latest guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to provide schools with enough flexibility, such as: school officials can choose not to require vaccinated students to wear masks, but unvaccinated students Masks should be worn and at least three feet apart, and the campus environment should be well ventilated, disinfected, and washed frequently.

It is understood that California is one of ten states in the United States that explicitly require masks, and Arizona lawmakers have banned schools from requiring masks, and some public health experts have condemned the practice as reckless, especially in cases of more contagious and virulent variants. is increasing.

Only children 12 and older are currently eligible for the vaccine, and in fact many are eligible but not yet vaccinated. California Superintendent of Education Tony Thurmond said the mask requirement is to ensure every student can safely return to school in the fall.

But some parents felt the new rules were too cautious and would backfire. Christie Pesicka, head of the California Federation, said: "Is it more unsafe to have 5,000 Dodgers fans who don't wear masks?"

Katie Braude, chief executive of Speak Up, a local advocacy group, noted that wearing a mask may reassure many parents, especially in communities of color and in low-income communities.

Ilan Shapiro, a researcher at the American Academy of Pediatrics, called for schools to open as soon as possible, in line with state guidance recommendations, saying: "Now is a good time to reflect on how to protect schoolchildren, staff and the community, not just the schoolchildren themselves, but the community as a whole."

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