LAUSD will drop indoor mask mandate

Despite 58% of teacher union members in Los Angeles voting to continue the indoor mask mandate, an agreement was reached between the union and the district to go mask-optional in schools.

Since+schools+in+LA+resumed+in-person%2C+students+have+never+a+choice+when+it+came+to+wearing+masks.

CREDIT: ISABELLA THOMAS | THE MIRROR

Since schools in LA resumed in-person, students have never a choice when it came to wearing masks.

The big picture | The district has reached an agreement with the teacher’s union, United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA), and is lifting the indoor mask mandate for both students and faculty members. According to the press release, school officials are working to implement the new policy “no later than Wednesday.” Despite the shift to optional masking, local and state health officials are still strongly recommending masks be worn.

What you should know The statement issued by the district gives a vague estimate as to when public schools can expect to become mask-optional indoors.  Until the new policy is enacted, masks will still be mandated in classrooms and will remain optional outdoors until the new policy is officially implemented. The agreement between UTLA and LAUSD is contingent on the continuation of weekly testing for both students and faculty until the end of the school year as well as mandatory baseline testing prior to returning to schools after spring break.

Who this applies to | Students and faculty will have the option to wear masks in classrooms once the mandate is officially lifted.

What officials are saying | “I strongly support ending the indoor mask requirement and am committed to continuing to uphold our science-based approach to COVID-19 safety and protocols,” said LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. “I want to personally thank our students, employees, and families for their support and patience. We know some in our school communities and offices will continue to wear masks while others may not. Please consider your situation and do what is best for you or your child. Now that this important issue is behind us, it is time to focus on each students’ full academic potential.”

The press release posted to the district’s social media pages on Mar. 19 stated, “Los Angeles Unified is pleased to announce that we have reached agreement with labor groups to align with the guidance from the State of California and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to make masking strongly recommended at all elementary, secondary and adult school campuses and in all non-school locations.”

In regards to both state and county officials making masking optional on Feb. 28,  UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz previous said in a statement, “LAUSD schools have been the safest and most well equipped in the country because educators and families united to demand critical health and safety protocols,” she said. “These protocols, like indoor masking, have protected tens of thousands of educators and more than half a million students, along with their families. It is premature to discuss removing these health and safety measures while there are still many unvaccinated youth in our early education programs and schools.”

By the numbers |

  • Between Feb. 28 and Mar. 4, the covid positivity rate in LAUSD schools remained steady at 0.3%. Out of a total of 470,000 tests administered, only 1,381 came back positive.
  • In Dec. 2021, LAUSD announced that 86.52% of students in the district had been fully vaccinated.
  • 58% of teachers who responded to UTLA’s poll on Mar. 13 wanted to continue the mask mandate in schools.

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After school goes mask-optional, do you still plan on wearing a mask in class?

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