Bay Area Students Head to Class Without Masks After State's School Mandate Ends

Most but not all districts are ditching face coverings as mandate shifts to recommendation

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Many students across the Bay Area and California on Monday will be able to go to class without a mask, though the face coverings still are recommended, and some districts have only modified the restriction.

California's school mask mandate officially expired at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, and a majority of public school districts will make masks optional. The state has allowed local districts to decide on their own mask policy.

At some of the larger districts in the Bay Area, those policies vary:

  • In San Jose Unified, masks are longer be required.
  • In Oakland Unified, students will have to wait another two weeks before the masks can come off.
  • In San Francisco Unified, elementary school students still must wear masks.

Meanwhile, the Alum Rock Union School District in San Jose is keeping its mask mandate in place for the rest of the school year, and the Franklin-Mckinley district, also in San Jose, is mandating masks until the end of April.

While the state has allowed individual districts to dictate who will remove masks and when, some district leaders say that hasn’t made the decision any easier.

"Obviously this is a public health decision, and I don’t think public schools need to make those decisions, but this is where we are," said Juan Cruz, superintendent for Franklin-McKinley.

Federal mask requirements still apply in high-risk indoor settings such as public transportation, airports and taxis.

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