California implemented a universal indoor mask mandate for k-12 schools and its enforcement will be left to district administrators.
The latest guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) noted that campuses will have a mix of unvaccinated and vaccinated students and administrators will decide “COVID-19 prevention strategies in their schools to protect people who are not fully vaccinated.”
Among the options for students who do not want to wear a mask are “alternative educational opportunities” such as independent study programs.
“The foundational principle of this guidance is that all students must have access to safe and full in-person instruction and to as much instructional time as possible,” CDPH said in a Tuesday press release.
Prior to the update, CDPH recommended that students who refuse to wear masks be sent home, but backtracked Monday night, saying the mask enforcement guidance would be later “clarified.”
UPDATE: California’s school guidance will be clarified regarding masking enforcement, recognizing local schools’ experience in keeping students and educators safe while ensuring schools fully reopen for in-person instruction.
— CA Public Health (@CAPublicHealth) July 13, 2021
There are situations where students cannot wear masks due to medical conditions and in those instances, it is recommended that the students wear a face shield or other non-restrictive face coverings.
Face coverings will not be required in outdoor settings, although students may wear them if they decide.
While face coverings will still be mandatory, California schools will no longer have to adhere to social distancing regulations.
California schools will also adhere to guidance given from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in terms of keeping students home if they feel sick, or test positive from COVID-19.