New Mask Guidelines Take Effect March 12

Posted by Mike Swize, Ed.D. on 3/3/2022 3:00:00 PM

Over the last school year, PSUSD has followed California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Riverside County Public Health (RCPH) guidance and mandates to allow for full in-person instruction in the safest way possible. At no point in time have we created different guidance than our county and state.

Earlier this week, Governor Newsom announced that with declining case rates and hospitalizations across the west, California, Oregon and Washington are moving together to update their masking guidance. After 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. In California, as of March 1, masks are no longer required for unvaccinated individuals, but will be strongly recommended for all individuals in most indoor settings. CDPH will be updating K-12 Schools Guidance to reflect that after 11:59 p.m. on March 11, 2022, students and staff members in K-12 settings will be strongly recommended, not required to mask while indoors. Please note that this change to statewide guidelines does not take effect until after 11:59 p.m. on March 11, 2022, effectively, Saturday, March 12. Masking is still required by all while indoors on school grounds until that date.

According to CDPH, in California, 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.

I appreciate and acknowledge that the state lifting the mask requirement may cause anxiety for some people, especially those who are at higher risk for COVID or live with someone who is at higher risk. Please note that mask wearing is still strongly recommended by the state and is an option for every student or staff member who wishes to wear one at any time.

I also appreciate and understand that there are people who would like the masking mandate to end immediately. As stated above, our decision to adhere strictly to state guidelines - not more, not less - has enabled us to continue in-person learning while weathering the COVID-19 storm, our district will continue to follow the guidance as stated.

The District will continue the mitigation strategies we are all familiar with - monitoring symptoms, testing, high-quality ventilation systems, etc. - with a great deal of focus on personal responsibility and respect. 

 

Respecting Personal Choice

  • The state is providing personal choice for masking in schools with the expectation that individual choices are respected. The District will not be monitoring the choice of face coverings, and whether or not the staff member or student is vaccinated.
  • One should not make assumptions regarding someone’s beliefs or health status based upon their choice to wear or not wear a mask, nor should they comment on them.
  • For young children, please let teachers know your wishes and they will do their best to reinforce them. The schools will discuss the change with students in a developmentally appropriate manner, including how to respect everyone’s personal choice.
  • If your child(ren) expresses any anxiety, feel free to reach out to our school counselors for additional support as needed.

 Responsibility 

  • Students and staff should continue to remain home when sick.
  • Students and staff are encouraged to take a COVID-19 test if exhibiting symptoms, or whenever they are concerned that they might have COVID.

Thank you for your collaboration as we continue to navigate what is hopefully, the move toward an endemic state. I truly appreciate your patience and understanding as we take every step to preserve the health of our students and staff while also keeping our community as safe and healthy as possible. Please have a safe and healthy March,

See you next month

Mike Swize, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools