mask mandate

When Can Kids Take Off Masks at School?

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With California lifting its indoor mask mandate next week, a growing number of parents are asking when kids can take off face coverings in class.

The answer can vary from county to county and one school district to the next.

For example, if the state and Santa Clara County were to drop the mask mandate, some districts might want to keep them - and that is where the uncertainty lies.

"Can a district keep the masks when we're told not to? I really don't know," Alum Rock Union School District Superintendent Dr. Hilaria Bauer said. "It's one of those decision that will probably end up in court and somebody challenging it."

Bauer said her district has some of the highest transmission rates and lowest vaccination rates in the county. The superintendent said she may want to keep mask rules on campuses, but is not sure if they will be allowed to once the county gives the all-clear.

Meanwhile, some health experts don't think it is time for schools to start ditching mask mandates.

Stanford Children's Health physician Dr. Jorge Salinas is worried because community transmission remains relatively high. Salinas also shares to the governor's concern that the vaccination rate among children is still very low statewide.

"When the incidents remain high, I think mandatory masks by whatever means should be done," Salinas said. "If the incidents decrease, then we can debate whether they're needed or not."

Gov. Gavin Newsom during a briefing on Wednesday said to expect more answers for questions surrounding mask rules on Monday.

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