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California plans to continue to require masks in school settings, state health officials announced Friday, after the Centers for Disease Control released new guidelines saying vaccinated students and teachers no longer need to wear masks inside campus buildings.
State health officials said the requirement will allow for full-time in-person learning and for all students to be treated the same, whether they’re vaccinated or not, Fox News reports.
“Masking is a simple and effective intervention that does not interfere with offering full in-person instruction,” said California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Mark Ghaly. “At the outset of the new year, students should be able to walk into school without worrying about whether they will feel different or singled out for being vaccinated or unvaccinated — treating all kids the same will support a calm and supportive school environment.”
The CDC’s recommendations also said schools should try and keep desks three feet apart — these guidelines are not a mandate. The CDC guidance said prevention strategies, including indoor masking, should be utilized when it’s not possible to maintain a distance of at least three feet in the classroom.
Ghaly said not all school facilities in the state can accommodate physical distancing and “we will align with the CDC by implementing multiple layers of mitigation strategies, including continued masking and robust testing capacity.”
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health previously recommended that all residents wear masks in public indoor spaces — regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19 with the Delta variant of the coronavirus continuing to spread statewide.