California · COVID-19

Newsom announces end to school mask mandate. Here’s when it will finally fade.

Facing pressure to loosen mask requirements, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and public health officials will be adopting new indoor mask policies tailored around schools and unvaccinated Californians, KABC reports.

Beginning March 1, masks will no longer be required but will be strongly recommended for unvaccinated individuals in most indoor settings.

After March 11, in schools and child care facilities, masks will not be required but will be strongly recommended.

The push to remove masks from the classroom has grown loudly in the San Joaquin Valley, with two local school districts taking decidedly different approaches to lessen the impact of the state’s mask mandate.

Fresno County’s Sierra Unified School District approved a resolution abandoning mask mandates in favor of parental choice for whether students wear masks.

A week later, Clovis Unified School District announced it would be rolling back enforcement of the mask mandate for students in accordance with state guidance over local conditions relative to COVID-19.

Meanwhile, other districts – including Kern County-based Tehachapi Unified School District – have struggled with mask revolts waged by students. The desert-based district shuttered its classes on Friday and Monday over its inability to enforce the mandate.

The latent removal of mask mandates by the Newsom administration provoked one lingering question among Republican lawmakers in Sacramento.

“Why wait?” Asm. Vince Fong (R–Bakersfield) said in a statement Monday afternoon. “This should have already happened.”

Les Hubbard is a contributing reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun.