BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Monday morning, even though it's no longer required to wear a mask in public settings and at schools, dozens of students arrive at campus still sporting a face-covering. As the mandate lifts, officials say they hope this will ease a point of tension that's plagued our schools.
The mask mandate across the state is easing for those in general public settings, as well as schools and childcare centers. On Monday students across Kern County returned to class without a mask for the first time in over a year.
"Everyone has their own choice and their own rights to whatever they want to do with their bodies," said Bakersfield High School freshman Destiny Manzano.
This change brought some relief to those in the Kern High School District, especially the board of supervisors.
"We’re very excited that the mandate has gone away," said KHSD Board of Trustee Jeff Flores. "It’s a return to normalcy, better instruction."
For a year now, masks have been a point of tension for the district with many angry at the state for requiring students to mask up, and angry at the school board for enforcing the mandate.
"It’s been a long two years and I’d like to get back to the real mission which is education," added Flores.
But even with the mandate lifted, many students and staff members arrived on campus Monday still wearing masks.
"Its spring and people are still getting allergies and stuff and it could spread germs," said Manzano.
For some, they say they choose to continue wearing masks to help in the prevention of spreading germs, but it’s their choice and they support the lifting of the mandate.
"This way we're safe. Better safe than sorry," said Armida Laddaga, a grandmother of a BHS student.
"Personally for me, I just feel comfortable wearing a mask, but it doesn't bother me if my friends aren't wearing a mask," added Manzano.
While masking is no longer required at schools, many other health and safety protocols still remain in effect at most districts including a 10-day quarantine should a student or staff member test positive for COVID-19.