SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KERO) — The governors of California, Oregon, and Washington have announced that schoolchildren will no longer be required to wear masks starting March 12. The governors of the three states announced the measure in a joint statement as part of new indoor mask policies that come as coronavirus cases and hospitalization rates decline across the West Coast.
“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," said Governor Gavin Newsom in a statement released Monday. "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.”
In California starting March 1st, masks will no longer be required but will be strongly recommended for unvaccinated individuals in most indoor settings. After March 11, in schools and childcare facilities, masks will not be required but will be strongly recommended. 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.
The new guidance will make face coverings a recommendation rather than a requirement at schools and most indoor places regardless of vaccination status. The milestone comes as much of the country relaxes public health orders, including school mask mandates, in an effort to restore normalcy and boost economic recovery.