California lifts mask mandate for K-12 schools, San Francisco public schools will not

By Emily Calix and Jocelyn Hernandez Gomez

California will drop the mask requirement inside K-12 schools. The new indoor mask policy will take effect on March 12. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom announces the state will continue to adjust its policies based on the latest data and science. According to the California Department of Public Health, nearly 3% of all of the state’s COVID-19 tests in the past two months were positive. 

“We cannot predict the future of the virus, but we are better prepared for it and will continue to take measures rooted in science to keep California moving forward,” Newsom said. 

San Francisco Unified School District, however, will continue the indoor mask mandate for public schools.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highly recommends wearing masks inside schools by students and staff.

SFUSD’s press release states that masking is “one of the least burdensome policies on schools.” 

“It helps prevent infections among students and staff and their families, and reduces missed school days,” San Francisco Unified School District Public Relations Manager Laura Dudnick said in an email. 

San Francisco Board of Education President Gabriela López in an email said the district agrees to keep the “important safety tool” and will keep the mandate in place until the end of the school year. 

Cassondra Curiel, president of the United Educators of San Francisco, a teachers union, said that there is a need for students to have high quality masks since many elementary school students are not eligible for the booster vaccine. When asked if teachers prefer masks, Curiel said it’s more nuanced than a yes or no.

“Do we all love wearing masks?’ said Curiel. “ The answer’s probably no, it’s not a loved thing but it is a necessary thing.”

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