Indoor School Mask Mandate Ends in California. But What About LAUSD?

"After March 11, in schools and child care facilities, masks will not be required but will be strongly recommended," Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a joint statement from all three West Coast governors.

LAUSD will be keeping masks on indoors, despite state and local guidance shifting to allow kids to go maskless at California schools -- but the second-largest school district in the nation is moving toward "recommended" masks in schools, they announced in a Friday evening tweet.

While the state dropped the requirement, state officials said that masks indoors are still strongly recommended, and it is up to each county to determine whether masking is mandatory.

State health officials announced earlier that March 12 will be the end date for the indoor mask mandate at schools across California. 

But LAUSD has not indicated when its mask mandate would come to an end.

The school district said in a statement on Twitter Friday that it "continues to take a science-based approach to COVID-19 policy, and is currently working with labor partners and other stakeholders to transition from required indoor masking to a strong recommendation for indoor masking, aligned with current guidance from the State of California and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health."

The updated state policy is part of a broader update to health guidance around the COVID-19 pandemic, softening the mandate to a recommendation and for all individuals -- vaccinated and unvaccinated -- on March 1. The update was jointly announced by governors in California, Oregon and Washington in a Monday statement.

“With declining case rates and hospitalizations across the West, California, Oregon and Washington are moving together to update their masking guidance,” the three Democratic governors said jointly in a statement.

"After March 11, in schools and child care facilities, masks will not be required but will be strongly recommended," Gov. Gavin Newsom said in the joint statement.

The West Coast now joins the likes of New York, the nation's largest school district, which announced over the weekend that it is set to lift its school mask mandate on March 7th.

Over the weekend, SoCal residents had mixed feelings about the anticipated announcement.

“I’m not upset by it, everybody has a choice to protect their children,” said Nena Cruz.

However, the updated guidance does not mean Californians should throw out their masks entirely.

"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," Newsom said in his Monday statement.

The new guidance doesn't override local mask mandates, Newsom added.

"LA County Public Health will align school masking measures with the state and shift to strongly recommending indoor masking requirements at childcare sites and K-12 schools beginning March 12," the LA County Department of Public Health said in a statement.

"School districts may continue to require masking at schools and during school activities and are encouraged to consult with teachers, staff, parents and students as they consider the appropriate safety protections for their school community, recognizing that many individuals may want to continue additional protections."

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