School Mask Mandate Remains Despite Policy Change


Image courtesy of Marcio Jose Sanchez via AP Photo

Fourth-grade students are wearing their masks while class is in session in Lynwood, California.

Luis Ortiz

Over the course of the last two years, mask mandates have been imposed by California Governor Gavin Newsom for schools across the Golden State. However, in the last week, his administration has been lifting these mandates for many indoor settings such as restaurants, shops, theaters, and government offices. Schools, however, were the exception.

The Santa Ana Unified School District sent out an email on February 15 to all SAUSD families regarding this recent change in policy. The district stated that the recent actions taken by the state government does not apply to any of the K-12 school districts across California. Regardless of one’s vaccination status, all staff, students, and administrators across California must continue to comply with the state’s mask requirements for schools. 

“Masking, along with our other safety protocols, have allowed our schools to remain open and provide a safe environment for learning,” says SAUSD in a statement. “We continue to ask for your support during this time. We will provide updated information as California’s masking rules continue to evolve.”

There has been a mixed response to this new trend. Some support the decision as it is vital to the well-being of students while others claim that it is ultimately a personal choice as to whether one should be required to mask up. 

“I do indeed agree with that, after all, it’s not like the pandemic and virus has suddenly disappeared. We still have to undergo safety precautions for them to be effective,” says Bryan Garibay (12). “If we are to discard these important mandates, then we will inevitably see another spike in cases and preventable deaths.”

In addition, Newsom announced that his administration may begin to consider COVID-19 as an endemic, which is a seasonal infection just like the flu, rather than a pandemic because of our failure to eradicate it over the last two years. Should we continue to consider wearing masks anyway? Should we not worry about continuing to mask up knowing that COVID will probably not disappear at this point? Without doubt, this mandate leaves more questions than answers.