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Students return amid changes to mask mandate

Posted at 11:30 AM, Mar 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-14 14:30:50-04

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.

"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.

Mazano arrived to school Monday still wearing a mask. She said for her, she doesn't mind the masks and thinks they're a good way to prevent the spread of any germs, not just the COVID-19 virus.

"Personally for me I just feel comfortable wearing a mask, but it doesn't bother me if my friends aren't wearing a mask," Mazano said.

On Monday students across Kern County returned to class without a mask for the first time in over a year. This change bringing some relief to those in the Kern High School District, especially the Board of Trustees.

"We’re very excited that the mandate has gone away, at least I know I am," said 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. Many angry at the state for requiring students 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," Flores said.

For many who are still in support of wearing masks, they said it doesn't bother them to see the mandate lifted because they can still make the choice themselves to mask up.

"This way we're safe. Better safe than sorry," said Armida Laddaga, a grandmother of a BHS student.

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 quarentine should a student or staff member test positive for COVID-19.