California, Oregon, and Washington announce the end of school mask requirements

California was the first state to officially adopt an endemic approach towards the coronavirus earlier this month.

California, Oregon, and Washington announce the end of school mask requirements

SACRAMENTO (Calif.) -- Schools in California, Oregon, and Washington will no more be required to wear masks under new indoor mask policies that the Democratic governors from all three states announced together Monday.

"With declining hospitalizations and case rates across the West," the governors stated in a statement.


 

Face coverings will be a recommendation, not a requirement, at all indoor places in California beginning Tuesday and at schools starting March 12, regardless of your vaccination status. All requirements in Washington and Oregon will be lifted on March 12.

In high-risk indoor environments such as taxis, public transport, airports, and public transportation, federal mask requirements will continue to apply. Other high-risk indoor settings may have different rules.

This milestone was reached two years ago. It comes as the nation relaxes its public health regulations, including the school mask mandates. In an effort to restore normalcy, and increase economic recovery, Americans are learning to live with the virus.

"Two decades ago today, Oregon's first COVID-19 case was identified," Oregon Governor. Kate Brown stated in the statement. "On the West Coast, our communities and economies have a lot in common. As we recover from the Omicron surge together, we will strengthen our resilience and be ready for the next variant or the next pandemic.

California was the first state that formally switched to an endemic approach for the coronavirus earlier this month. Gavin Newsom announced a plan that prioritizes prevention and rapid response to outbreaks, rather than mandated masking or business shutdowns.

Republicans and other critics are pressing Newsom to relax the school mandate that has become increasingly divisive among California parents.

Many parents support wearing masks at school, but others question why they are no longer required to do so in supermarkets or elsewhere. California's indoor mask rule was repealed on February 15, but the rule was still in effect for unvaccinated persons and schoolchildren.

Masks are no longer required in California but will be strongly recommended for those who have not been vaccinated in indoor settings. The statement stated that the same applies to childcare facilities and K-12 schools starting March 12.

A few California school districts have dropped their mask mandates for students in the last week in defiance of the state mandate.

After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed the federal mask guidance Friday they announced that the West Coast doesn't require masks to be worn in indoor public places such as schools.

The new CDC guidance focuses less on positive test results, and more on what is happening in hospitals. The new system allows masks to be worn indoors only if the coronavirus is not a high or moderate threat to hospitals.

Since July, the CDC has recommended universal masking in schools, regardless of the virus level in the community. However, it now recommends that masks only be used in high-risk counties.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee stated that health officials will provide guidance to schools next week in order to allow them to be prepared.

He said that many families and businesses will continue to choose to wear masks. "As we move into the next phase, we will continue moving forward together with care and caution."

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