Masking in School Ends March 12

The state’s requirement for masking in schools will expire on Friday, March 11.

Today, the Newsom Administration announced the state’s requirement for masking in schools will expire on Friday, March 11, allowing students, regardless of vaccination status, to be without a face mask at school beginning Monday, March 14.

It is important to note that counties can still implement masking requirements for schools within their jurisdictions. School boards can also adopt their own masking requirements that extend beyond March 11. Already, Los Angeles County has issued a statement saying they will comply with CDPH guidelines, allowing all schools in LA County to move from mandating to strongly recommending masks. 

“The next two weeks are important because we see our communities getting even lower transmission rates and that creates an even lower number of individuals getting infected,” said California Health & Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “California has 12 percent of students in the country but less than one percent of the closures this year. Giving even that little time to get to those lower rates is important.” 

On Friday, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated national guidelines to recommend that schools use the same guidelines as general community settings, meaning masks are not required in areas that have low or medium levels of COVID-19 transmission and sufficient hospital capacity. CDC determines COVID-19 community levels by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area.

The CDC also unveiled a new color-coded system for following COVID-19 county-by-county. According to the new system, 70% of Americans live in areas that are now considered “low” or “medium” risk. The CDC says schools do not need to require masking in those areas. The CDC now only recommends universal masking in schools in communities that have a “high” risk.

Starting March 1, masks will no longer be required for unvaccinated individuals indoors but will continue to be strongly recommended for all individuals in most settings. Masks will still be required for everyone in high-transmission settings like public transit, emergency shelters, health care settings, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and long-term care facilities.

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