LA County schools lift mask mandates starting March 12 but LAUSD holds firm

According to new LAUSD superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho, the Los Angeles Unified School District will not be dropping its indoor mask mandate and will continue it for an indefinite period of time.

LAUSD+has+not+put+out+a+definite+time+for+the+end+of+the+mask+mandate.+

CREDIT: CROMACONCEPTOVISUAL | PIXABAY

LAUSD has not put out a definite time for the end of the mask mandate.

What is happening | On Monday, California state health officials announced that starting March 12, school districts within Los Angeles County have the option to remove the indoor masking requirement. However, according to new LAUSD superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) will not be dropping its indoor mask mandate and will continue it for an indefinite period of time. 

Carvalho states that as of now, the district will continue to consult with health medical directors and health officials before updating the current indoor mask policy.

According to Gov. Gavin Newsom, masking would be strongly recommended for all individuals at indoor locations instead of mandated in LA County. In addition, people would still be required to wear masks in high transmission areas like shelters, public transit, long-term facilities and health care settings. 

While mandates for masks outdoors have been lifted in schools within the LAUSD district since Feb. 22, the district must negotiate with the teachers union before a decision is made in regards to mask mandates in the classroom. 

The covid report card shows rates of positive cases at Van Nuys High School and the district as a whole. (CREDIT: LAUSD )

Why does it matter | LAUSD is the second largest school district in the country. Currently, statewide requirements in California state that students and teachers must wear a mask in classrooms at all times. Now, these restrictions have been lifted in LA County, which is a prominent change from the strict indoor mask mandates previously enforced by the state. 

Who this applies to | The new policy applies to all teachers and students in California K-12 schools except for LAUSD. While it is now strongly recommended to wear masks indoors at school in other California school districts, LAUSD will not be following suit. Students and school staff at LAUSD schools will still be required to wear masks indoors until the superintendent introduces an new mask guidance for the district. 

What Van Nuys is saying | “I don’t think it’d be safe because there isn’t a full vaccination rate at our school, so I think it’d be unsafe for unvaccinated individuals,” junior Janelle Castro said. “The positive rate of covid-19 cases might rise if we lift the mask mandate” 

“I will keep wearing my mask just for my own peace of mind,” junior Marcela Aguirre said. “Masks make me feel safer at school and I’ve already become accustomed to them. Plus, children are most important and I don’t want to see covid-19 get bad again.”

Pullquote Photo

I’m still going to be wearing my mask in the classroom. Being in a crowded classroom setting with 30 people still gives some anxiety. Some students here have been affected by covid-19 over the past two years, so I want to be understanding of what they’ve gone through.”

— History Teacher Mr. Robert Docter

“I think that students will continue wearing masks indoors,” junior Leslie Portillo said. “We’ve been doing this for almost two years now so it’s kind of normal to keep your masks on now instead of being maskless. There is going to be a certain group of people who will take their masks off. They are the ones who will probably increase cases. Though masks don’t completely stop the spread, they help. Having a handful of people with masks off will affect cases.”

“It will be a bad situation for my family,” junior Joshua Castro said. “I have a baby sister and I don’t want to bring her any covid-19 from school if the mask mandate gets lifted. I also think there will be a group of people that will take advantage of the new lift. There will also be people who want to take off their masks, but may be embarrassed to.”