California state officials on Friday said they will still require masks be worn inside school facilities after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed its guidelines by allowing vaccinated teachers and students to ditch their masks on campus.
Requiring masks be worn indoors in school settings will also ensure all kids are treated the same, the state said in a news release.
“We applaud the CDC’s commitment to ensuring that schools are fully, safely opened for in-person instruction. Given California’s science-based approach and the fact that the state’s school facilities can’t accommodate physical distancing, we will align with the CDC by implementing multiple layers of mitigation strategies, including continued masking and robust testing capacity,” California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in a statement. “Masking is a simple and effective intervention that does not interfere with offering full in-person instruction. At the outset of the new year, students should be able to walk into school without worrying about whether they will feel different or singled out for being vaccinated or unvaccinated – treating all kids the same will support a calm and supportive school environment.”
In San Jose, education officials also echo the importance of keeping masks on when class resume for in-person instruction.
"Having this little habit of wearing masks, it's a very small price to pay to keep everybody safe," said Dr. Hilaria Bauer, Alum Rock Union School District superintendent.
San Jose Unified School District Deputy Superintendent Stephen McMahon said his district will prioritize safety.
"We'll work with the California Department of Public Health and the Santa Clara County Public Health Department to make sure we have the best safety measures we can," McMahon said. "Safety comes first."
Meanwhile, Director of the California Department of Public Health and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragón said the CDPH is reviewing the CDC guidance and plan to release state K-12 guidance on Monday.