California will stop requiring students and staff to wear masks in schools on Friday, March 11, but Castro Valley and other school districts could still continue to mandate them.
Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statement announcing the end of mask mandates in California schools on Feb. 28.
“After March 11, in schools and child care facilities, masks will not be required but will be strongly recommended…As always, local jurisdictions may have additional requirements beyond the state guidance,” stated Newsom.
Students and staff in California schools will not be required by the state of California to wear masks, including unvaccinated individuals who will only be strongly urged to do so. However, as Newsom said, the school districts have final say in whether or not to require masks in their schools.
CVUSD is still in discussion over whether or not to end the mask mandate in Castro Valley schools.
“CVUSD will not have its plans in place until the county has communicated theirs, as we are required to follow their guidelines,” commented Principal Blaine Torpey.
“We have a memorandum of understanding which is a temporary contract and we’ve been doing that since Covid started and it provides rules and on class safety. One of the things we have in there is that students and staff have to be masked at all times including outdoors. That will be removed within the next few days. We are going to work with staff and see where they are in their comfort levels with masking in classrooms,” explained Ian Rodriquez, vice president of the teachers union.
This means that students will no longer be required to wear masks outdoors, but it still has not been decided if masks should be required in classrooms.
CVUSD Covid cases were at an all time high in January with 514 student cases due to the Omnicron variant. In February cases declined to 102 and they have been steadily decreasing since.
Many CVHS students are uncomfortable with the idea of lifting the mask mandate so soon after the Omnicron surge.
“Personally it makes me uncomfortable so I’ll probably keep wearing my mask,” says senior Kaitlyn Wong.
“I’m glad we’re finally getting to a point where things can start going back to normal, but I personally do not feel safe or want to risk getting other people sick. I’m going to keep wearing my mask,” says senior Katherine Le.
There are still worries about health safety in schools and decreasing the spread, but others like Dr. Mark Ghaly, California secretary of Health and Human Services, who believe we are ready.
“This feels like the right time, I’ve been pleased with how the data has come down, and it is the right time to transition from the requirement to a strong recommendation,” said Ghaly.
Despite the optimism, there are still many reasonable concerns out there especially after the peaks and surges of Covid cases in these past two years.
“We’ve gone down this road several times where cases go down, and we start to ease up on things and cases go up. However we’re definitely in a different place when it comes to vaccinations and booster shots,” said Rodriquez.