SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Students in the San Diego Unified and Sweetwater Union High School districts no longer have to wear face masks indoors on campuses.
The districts’ lifting of the mask requirement comes three weeks after California’s indoor masking policies at schools expired.
San Diego Unified and Sweetwater both chose to wait until April 4 -- when students were set to return from Spring Break -- to remove the indoor mask mandate. Now, under the new guidance, masks are only recommended for students.
Richard Barrera, a trustee on the San Diego Unified School Board, said the lifting of the mandate has created some concerns over bullying of students over their choice of whether or not to wear a mask. He said one of the reasons the district waited until after Spring Break to make the move was to give teachers a chance to work with students to let them know either way is okay.
"We are worried," Barrera said. "Peer pressure, we're worried about bullying, frankly, in either direction."
District parent Mark Powell said his daughter, a fully vaccinated student at University City High School, doesn't wear a mask at social events anymore, but would bring one with her to school to see what her peers are doing before making any decision.
"There's a little bit of concern that some of the other students may say, 'Well, why aren't you wearing a mask?'" he said.
Before leaving for the break, both school districts distributed COVID-19 home test kits to students and staff, and asked them to voluntarily test before returning to schools.
Barrera said positivity rates at schools are now below where they were before the winter spread of omicron, noting more than 80 percent of students 16 and older have gotten at least one shot.
He said if the district sees cases rise, or attendance dropping due to positivity, it could reinstate the mask mandate.