SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Rancho Santa Fe parents woke up a letter from the superintendent Tuesday morning letting them know masks are now a choice at school.
"We're maybe five days to maybe weeks ahead of the state. So, I really hope they don't take action against us and they look at the reality of our local conditions and they go,' you know what, you're not as hard hit so you're well within your right to do what you did,'" said Jee Manghani, governing board president.
He explained the board voted three-to-two Monday night to defy Governor Gavin Newsom and unmask students.
Manghani said the board received a letter from more than one hundred and sixty parents asking for choice- so the board reached out to the governor.
"We sent a letter to Governor Newsom and we basically said, 'Hey we want local control because one, the virus is endemic and two, we have a 90 percent vaccination rate in our communities [and] in our district. The staff has a 94 percent vaccination rate,'" said Manghani.
Manghani said the board didn't hear back from Governor Newsom in time.
On Tuesday, one-third of the 600 students in the district showed up without a mask.
"The discussion here isn't about whether it will increase the risk. It will. The question is how much and what is the benefit? How does the risk-benefit ratio play out here," said Dr. Robert Schooley, UCSD professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health.
He explained everyone masked is safer than some.
"Now, masks work in two ways. If I'm wearing a mask I will in a sense exhale less virus than if I'm not. You'll be safer around me than if I'm not. If you also put on a mask, you'll be even safer," said Dr. Schooley.
He leaves this advice to parents who are contemplating whether or not to send their kids to school with masks.
"If you have someone in the home who is at risk, that is a reason to continue to wear a mask. If a child, him or herself is not vaccinated, I still think it's better to be careful and wear a mask. If they're vaccinated they are less likely to get ill than unvaccinated children, but unvaccinated children, unfortunately, do end up in the hospital," he said.