Berkeley Unified School District Reinstates Indoor Mask Mandate

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The Berkeley Unified School District announced Friday the return of its indoor masking policy as COVID cases continue to rise. The mandate was set to start Monday.

The usual cheerfulness of an upcoming weekend was somewhat muted at Rosa Parks Elementary School as families found out the indoor mask mandate that was dropped in March is coming back.

The Berkeley Unified School District sent out letters to families of about 9,800 students in 16 schools, saying it was based on a recommendation by the city Public Health Officer.

Some Parents NBC Bay Area talked to said they were stunned to hear Berkeley now has an average of 40 daily cases per 100,000 residents. It was only 8 in March.

“I don’t know why it’s coming back. Maybe it’s something in the air. We don’t know. This is super crazy,” said parent Amellia Aviles.

While other parents we talked to were not as reluctant.

“I think it’s wise. I think we’ve been very cautious during the pandemic and we support, you know, reinstatement of the masking,” said parent Jennifer Lazarus.

Students NBC Bay Area talked to with their parents’ permission did not want to wear masks but understood why.

“Well, a lot of kids are vaccinated .. so it can be safer .. but maybe not (gestures) a ‘big gap’ in ‘without masks’ and ‘with masks,’” said third grader Lina.

“One thing I really like about wearing masks ‘off’ is because we can talk more in our classrooms,” said third grader Celeste.

Many families told NBC Bay Area that regardless how they feel, they can put up with wearing masks until the end of this school year in June. After that, they said their feelings could change.

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