San Diego Unified President Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne defends indoor mask mandate

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The San Diego Unified School District is requiring indoor masking starting Monday, a result of San Diego County entering the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s high COVID-19 transmission level last week.

The school district made the announcement on Friday and will apply to students, teachers and staff attending summer school and summer enrichment programs.

Indoor masking will be required at all schools and district offices.

“We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 community level according to the CDC and County data and we will communicate if there are any changes in two weeks,” the school district said in a letter sent to students and parents.

A mask requirement in the school district was not yet announced for the fall semester.

“If your student is participating in summer school or other summer enrichment program, please send them to school or their program with a mask. If they do not have one, masks will be provided. Students and staff will be required to wear their masks while indoors only,” the school district said.

Richard Barrera, School Board Trustee, joined KUSI’s Lauren Phinney on “Good Morning San Diego” to defend the new mandate, and explain why it is necessary even though children have essentially zero risk to COVID-19.

Monday on Good Evening San Diego, San Diego Unified Board President Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne further defended the district’s policy, using the arbitrary color-coded tier system as justification for masking healthy children. She explained, “unfortunately that’s what happened here.”

Whitehurst-Payne says the mandates will remain in effect for the Fall semester if the community is still in the arbitrary orange tier. There is only two more weeks of summer school for high school students, and one week for younger students.

In the Fall, students who do not want to adhere to the mask mandate will have the choice of remote learning, something Whitehurst-Payne described as a good option, but many parents feel strongly that their student should not have to participate in remote learning.

KUSI’s Logan Byrnes asked what students enrolled in summer school should do if they feel uncomfortable wearing mask in class, and Whitehurst-Payne shrugged off the concern and said they “should just wear the mask.” She then pointed to young students who never stopped wearing their masks as further validation for the mandate.

Back in January, Whitehurst-Payne touted the effectiveness of the N-95 masks, even saying masking is beneficial to the students. Her message six months later, appears to be the same, mask up or participate in remote learning.

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Categories: California News, Coronavirus, Good Evening San Diego, Health, Local San Diego News