Richard Barrera on SDUSD’s fall semester mask policy
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – San Diego Unified School District will have a universal required mask mandate for all schools during the fall 2021 semester.
Richard Barrera, San Diego Unified School District Board President, joined KUSI’s Ginger Jeffries on Good Evening San Diego to discuss the reasoning behind this decision.
The youngest age eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine is 12 years of age, so the majority of SDUSD students will be unvaccinated when the fall semester starts, Barrera explained.
With rising COVID-19 cases, Barrera said the district believes it’s the best way to protect those students who have not yet been vaccinated.
During the interview, Barrera incorrectly asserted that SDUSD, and other districts, are being forced to follow the state guidance. But last week, public health officials in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration abruptly changed course from the original guidelines and said school districts would decide for themselves how to enforce the mask mandate.
KUSI’s Ginger Jeffries was correct to point out Barrera has the ability to implement a policy that gives San Diego Unified students the ability to choose for themselves whether or not they want to wear a mask.
Speaking after an event in Los Angeles Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom himself downplayed the reversal, saying enforcement of mask-wearing has “always been a local responsibility.”
Regarding the abrupt change in policy, Newsom explained, “All (the Department of Public Health) did was clarify that local responsibility, which is consistent with all the prior rule-making that has been in effect on mask-wearing going back to last year.”