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By Miriam Raftery

Photo: CC by SA via Bing

Update: The County has also lifted its mask mandate for schools, though individual districts may make their own decisions.

February 28, 2002 (San Diego) -- Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday announced that California will lift requirements for students and staffers to wear masks indoors at schools started March 12th.

Face coverings will remain strongly recommended, but will not be mandated. However, individual school districts and counties will have the option to maintain local mask requirements if they deem restrictions necessary.

The announcement follows Friday’s change in guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where the new standards rely on COVID hospital numbers to govern whether masks should be worn.

But those new standards — while resulted in mask recommendations being lifted for much of the nation, still classify San Diego County as having “high” virus activity and urged that people continue to wear masks. So it is unclear whether County Supervisors may opt to keep the school mask mandate in place until the case levels and hospitalizations drop.

Starting Tuesday March 1st, the state will also lift its requirement that unvaccinated people wear masks in most indoor settings, but masks will be “strongly recommended” for everyone indoors.

Masks will also continue to be required for everyone at settings including health-care facilities, transit centers, airports, aboard public transit, in correctional facilities and at homeless shelters and long-term care facilities.

“California continues to adjust our policies based on the latest data and science, applying what we’ve learned over the past two years to guide our response to the pandemic,” Newsom said in a statement. “Masks are an effective tool to minimize spread of the virus and future variants, especially when transmission rates are high. We cannot predict the future of the virus, but we are better prepared for it and will continue to take measures rooted in science to keep California moving forward.”

The governors of Oregon and Washington joined Newsom in Monday’s announcement, ending the mandate for the entire west coast starting March 12th,  except in any counties or school districts that choose to retain restrictions.


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