(KGTV) – Face masks will continue to be required at schools across California despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated guidance allowing fully vaccinated teacher and students to go maskless in school buildings and facilities.
Guidance released Friday by the CDC is only a set of recommendations designed to "supplement -- not replace" local rules and regulations.
The guidance recommends multiple layers of infection prevention, such as encouraging vaccinations, social distancing of at least three feet between students along with mask-wearing by students and staff who are not vaccinated.
In response to the CDC’s updated recommendations, the state’s Department of Public Health said, “California will continue to require that masks be worn indoors in school settings, which also will ensure that all kids are treated the same.”
California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in a statement:
"We applaud the CDC's commitment to ensuring that schools are fully, safely opened for in-person instruction. Given California's science-based approach and the fact that the state's school facilities can't accommodate physical distancing, we will align with the CDC by implementing multiple layers of mitigation strategies, including continued masking and robust testing capacity.
Masking is a simple and effective intervention that does not interfere with offering full in-person instruction. 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."
More information on the state’s response to the CDC’s updated guidance can be found on this link.
Friday's CDC announcement comes as the national vaccination campaign aimed at unvaccinated Americans grows, and a general decline in recent months has been observed in COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths.
Though in recent weeks the delta variant of the virus has sparked new worries among the medical community that those who are not vaccinated are at even more risk. The delta variant is considered more contagious than the traditional virus.
San Diego Unified School District School Board President Richard Barrera wrote to ABC 10News on Friday that the current policy is that all students and staff need to be masked, with a few exceptions for those with disabilities. He added that the masking policy is in place now and throughout summer school and he added that the district will follow guidelines from state health officials for the fall. He also reported that the district will need a few days to assess the new guidelines from the CDC to see whether local policy may be updated.