BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Almost every school district plans to fully reopen for in-person instruction this fall according to data released by the governor's office. But if you're a parent or guardian of a student, you might be wondering: does my kid still need to wear a mask?
Back to school means back to keeping up with the ever-changing guidelines from health officials for masks and vaccines as the pandemic continues. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) says there is no mandatory vaccination requirement from either the state or federal government.
Dr. Hemmal Kothary with Dignity Health Bakersfield says he believes newer vaccine technology is going to be the new norm for all types of vaccines but questions remain.
"There's still a lot of debate on how much better kids are with vaccines."
Currently, 17.1 percent of 12-15-year-olds in the county have been fully or partially vaccinated.
"So the biggest thing that I can see is a lot of these kids even though they don't get sick, they're carriers,” added Dr. Kothary.
Public health says that everyone, including parents, should review available information from reputable sources when deciding to be vaccinated and parents who have questions should talk with their child’s healthcare provider.
When it comes to masking up, the state requires everyone in K-12 schools to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status.
In a statement to 23ABC, the California Department of Public Health says in part "this may change as updated K-12 school guidance is forthcoming, pending updates from the CDC."
CDPH would not specify if new guidance could possibly come down in early or late July.
Kern High School District, Panama-Buena Vista Union School District, and Bakersfield City School District all told 23ABC they will plan to follow all state and county health guidance for the upcoming fall school year.
Parents should also be prepared for new guidance for schools to come down from the CDC.
You can view the latest information on the State of California Safe Schools For All website.