mask mandates

California's Indoor Mask Mandate Ends Wednesday, But Teachers and Students Must Keep Masking Up

Keep your masks handy if you're a teacher or student anywhere in California, or if you live in a county with more restrictive mandates -- you'll need to mask up for a while longer.

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Tired of masks? If you're vaccinated in California, as of Wednesday, you won't need to wear them inside anymore -- with a few notable exceptions.

The statewide indoor mask mandate is dropping Wednesday for vaccinated individuals. But that change won't apply to teachers or students in California public schools, or to those in counties with their own set of mask rules.

The indoor mask mandate in schools applies until at least the end of February, when health officials say they will reevaluate the practice.

"We will, today, not make a change," said Dr. Mark Ghaly, state secretary of health and human services. "There will be no change in the masking requirement."

Masks in schools has been a contentious topic for some parents and students, who are frustrated by the delay in dropping the masks in schools.

That frustration increased after visitors to Super Bowl LVI in SoFi Stadium on Sunday were shown to be, for the most part, maskless while they celebrated, despite the outdoor mask requirement still in effect and stadium's gift of a free KN95 to every attendee of the big game.

NFL guidelines required attendees provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test from the past 48 hours, in addition to the mask requirement.

California public health officials say the remaining statewide mandates will be relaxed, and it's not a matter of if, but when.

The mask mandates for residents of Los Angeles County, or any other counties with their own set of mask rules, will stay in place for now.

On Tuesday, LA County Public Health announced it was lifting the outdoor mask mandate at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

COVID-19 transmission has plummeted recently, with cases down over 75% and hospitalizations down by 40%.

Under guidelines announced this month by county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, if the hospitalization number stayed below 2,500 for seven consecutive days, the county would consider itself to be entering a "post-surge'' phase, and would lift its mask mandate for outdoor "mega-events'' and outdoors at schools and childcare centers.

The county's indoor mask mandate, on the other hand, will stay in effect until the county's virus-transmission rate falls to the "moderate'' level -- as defined by the CDC --for two straight weeks, or until COVID vaccines have been available to children under 5 years old for eight weeks.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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