The state of California is lifting all mask mandates in schools after March 11th, in conjunction with the states of Oregon and Washington.
According to Democratic Governor of California Gavin Newsom’s official website, “[a]fter 11:59 p.m. on March 11, California, Oregon and Washington will adopt new indoor mask policies and move from mask requirements to mask recommendations in schools.”
“State policies do not change federal requirements, which still include masks on public transit,” it added.
In a statement, Newsom said, “California continues to adjust our policies based on the latest data and science, applying what we’ve learned over the past two years to guide our response to the pandemic. Masks are an effective tool to minimize spread of the virus and future variants, especially when transmission rates are high.”
“We cannot predict the future of the virus, but we are better prepared for it and will continue to take measures rooted in science to keep California moving forward,” the governor added.
Beginning on March 1st, masks will no longer be mandated for unvaccinated people in California, but will be “strongly recommended for all individuals in most indoor settings.” After March 11th, masks will not be mandated but will also be “strongly recommended” in schools and child care centers.
“Masks will still be required for everyone in high transmission settings like public transit, emergency shelters, health care settings, correctional facilities, homeless shelters and long-term care facilities. As always, local jurisdictions may have additional requirements beyond the state guidance,” Newsom’s office noted.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown (D) said in a statement, “Two years ago today, we identified Oregon’s first case of COVID-19. As has been made clear time and again over the last two years, COVID-19 does not stop at state borders or county lines. On the West Coast, our communities and economies are linked.”
“Together, as we continue to recover from the Omicron surge, we will build resiliency and prepare for the next variant and the next pandemic. As we learn to live with this virus, we must remain vigilant to protect each other and prevent disruption to our schools, businesses, and communities––with a focus on protecting our most vulnerable and the people and communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” Brown added.
In a statement, Washington Governor Jay Inslee (D) noted, “We’ve continued to monitor data from our state Department of Health, and have determined we are able to adjust the timing of our statewide mask requirement. While this represents another step forward for Washingtonians, we must still be mindful that many within our communities remain vulnerable. Many businesses and families will continue choosing to wear masks, because we’ve learned how effective they are at keeping one another safe. As we transition to this next phase, we will continue to move forward together carefully and cautiously.”
Most indoor mask rules will reportedly be lifted after March 11th in Washington and Oregon. The Washington State Department of Health will be giving new guidelines for K-12 schools next week so schools can get ready to carry out updated safety measures.