California to adopt new mask policies for schools, ease masking rules for unvaccinated

Masks will no longer be required, but will be "strongly recommended" in schools.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2022
California to lift mask mandate in schools on March 12
California is lifting its mask mandate in schools on March 12. Gov. Newsom says masks will no longer be required, but will be "strongly recommended."

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGO) -- California will be changing school mask requirements to mask recommendations and will be adopting new indoor mask policies for people who are unvaccinated.

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Starting March 12, masks won't be required in schools and child care facilities. They will be strongly recommended. March 12 is a Saturday. So effectively, the lift will take place Monday, March 14 or two weeks from today. It's still unclear if Bay Area districts will lift their mandates.

Masks will still be required in public transit, emergency shelters, health care settings, correctional facilities, homeless shelters and long-term care facilities.

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There will also be new indoor mask policies. Starting March 1, masks won't be required but strongly recommended for unvaccinated individuals in most indoor settings.

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California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly will give an update on the new mask guidance at 1 p.m.

"California continues to adjust our policies based on the latest data and science, applying what we've learned over the past two years to guide our response to the pandemic. Masks are an effective tool to minimize the spread of the virus and future variants, especially when transmission rates are high. We cannot predict the future of the virus, but we are better prepared for it and will continue to take measures rooted in science to keep California moving forward," said Gov. Newsom.

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According to the state, California educates 12% of the country's students in kindergarten through the 12th grade, yet with its stricter policies, has only accounted for 1% of school closures due to COVID-19.

Oregon and Washington will also adopt new indoor mask policies on March 1 and will move from mask requirements to mask recommendations in schools on March 12.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.