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What California’s lift of the indoor mask mandate means for schools

“I know, and hear, and listen to the frustration."
Posted: 5:19 PM, Feb 14, 2022
Updated: 2022-02-14 21:30:46-05
Mask Wearing

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The state of California’s indoor mask mandate requirement will expire on Feb. 15 for some who are fully vaccinated. So, who will be allowed to remove their masks?

While the mask mandate will end for some vaccinated Californians, parents should note the state is looking to change the school mask guidance as well.

“I know, and hear, and listen, to the frustration from many California parents,” said Dr. Mark Ghalay, California Health and Human Services Secretary.

While the mask mandate ends for vaccinated Californians on February 28, the state still needs to look at data and conditions for a potential change to the statewide school masking requirement.

Dr. Ghalay added California has the most K-12 public school students in the country, and yet have experienced far fewer school closures.

“We have 12% of the students in the country here in California’s schools. We have experienced less than 1% of school closures this year. That is directly related to how we have managed and supported these schools through two really large surges this year.”

But the mask mandate doesn't end for everyone. Dr. Ghalay said a mask will still be required to enter health care, jails, prisons, and long-term care facilities, regardless of vaccination status, until the state determines safety factors.

“We’re going to look at information on case rates, confirm that we believe what is going to happen, which is that case numbers will continue to come down. Test positivity will come down, hospitalizations for both adults and pediatric will come down and we are watching vaccine rates.”

California officials believe that the many factors that coincide with this virus will begin to slow down. They are confident that when they reassess information again in two weeks, both case numbers for adults and children will have decreased.

23ABC In-Depth

What is Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)?

Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or "MIS-C", is a rare health condition that can occur in children and teens under 21 years of age who were infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). Children with MIS-C get inflammation in different parts of the body ("organ systems") up to eight weeks after being infected with SARS-CoV-2. This inflammation can occur whether the child did or did not have symptoms of COVID-19. Organ systems that can be affected by MIS-C can include: the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, and/or gastrointestinal organs. Because it is caused by SARS-CoV-2, MIS-C is a new condition that was first reported in April, 2020.

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms of MIS-C include ongoing fever PLUS more than one of the following:

  • Abdominal (stomach) pain
  •  Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin rash
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

Emergency signs of MIS-C that require immediate medical care include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake up or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds (depending on skin tone)

- According to California Department of Public Health