San Diego Unified to mandate masks for K-12 regardless of vaccination status
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – All public schools in the state of California will require students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks for the upcoming semester. It comes a day after the California Department of Public Health revised their guidance stating districts should send students home if they don’t comply with the mandate.
In a tweet they said it would now be up to each individual district to decide how they enforce the rule. San Diego Unified School Board President Richard Barrera acknowledged the confusion but reiterated the district’s stance.
“Unfortunately it’s not new for us. Throughout the pandemic we’ve often gotten conflicting and contradictory guidance by the state and federal officials,” said Barrera. “In the case of opening up in the fall, we will be requiring that all students and all staff wear masks while they are indoors.”
The stance and response to CDPH guidelines were only mentioned once in Tuesday’s SDUSD board meeting, but it’s the topic that everyone from parents, advocates, to county supervisors are talking about.
“Parents and adults should protect children, children shouldn’t be used to protect adults,” said County Supervisor Jim Desmond in proposing the board write a letter to the governor asking him to overturn the guidance. “And instead leave it to parents to decide whether they want to wear a mask or not,” he added.
“Let Them Breathe” Founder, Sharon McKeeman, has said that since the organization started in March, it has grown to thousands of members.
They are now pursuing legal action against the state of California.
“We’re going forward with the lawsuit because no children should have to be forced to break a school rule. This is completely upside down,” McKeeman said.
SDUSD has said they are requiring masks regardless of vaccination status partly because of the rise in Delta variant cases and partly because they feel every child should be treated fairly.
“What we don’t want to do is create an environment on our school campuses where some students are wearing masks and others are not wearing masks, that students may be subject to bullying or feel singled out,” Barerra said.
McKeeman said their group has been advocating that the best way to treat all kids equitably is to give all mask choices and that they should all be able to breathe freely, share their smiles and decide what’s best for them.
KUSI’s Hunter Sowards was live outside San Diego Unified School District Board of Education with more on the back and forth.