California to relax mask guidelines in schools starting March 12

State officials announced Monday that beginning March 12, students and staff in California will no longer be required to wear masks in schools. However, indoor masking will still be recommended, and it will be up to the individual counties and districts to decide whether they plan to align with the new state guidelines. 

This also applies to child care facilities. 

"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," Gov. Newsom said in a statement.

(Getty Images)

The Los Angeles County of Public Health said they will indeed align with the state’s school masking measures and issued the following statement:

"We appreciate the continued leadership from the state as they adjust masking guidance to reflect the improving conditions across many communities. LA County Public Health will align school masking measures with the state and shift to strongly recommending indoor masking requirements at childcare sites and K-12 schools beginning March 12. School districts may continue to require masking at schools and during school activities and are encouraged to consult with teachers, staff, parents and students as they consider the appropriate safety protections for their school community, recognizing that many individuals may want to continue additional protections. We will review any additional state guidance changes and provide an update on additional modifications to LA County safety measures during tomorrow's Board of Supervisors meeting."

Newsom joins Governors Brown and Inslee of Oregon and Washington, respectively, on the updated health guidance. 

California also announced starting Tuesday, March 1, unvaccinated adults will also be able to go maskless in most indoor spaces. 

RELATED: California to lift indoor mask mandate for unvaccinated adults starting March 1

Gov. Newsom rolls back on most COVID-19 executive orders

The new indoor masking guideline for schools comes as Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday that the Golden State is shifting toward an ‘endemic’ COVID-19 plan and that the state is rolling back on the cast majority of executive orders implemented in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

RELATED: Newsom eliminates most pandemic-related health orders, focusing on testing, vaccines

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On Sunday, the latest state figures revealed COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped below 1,000 patients for the first time since December before the holiday surge. In addition, Friday marked the first day Los Angeles County’s revised mask mandate was in effect, allowing businesses to make indoor masking optional for vaccinated customers.


As of Friday, only 15% of the 561 executive orders enacted by Newsom in response to the pandemic are still in effect. Those that will remain, the governor says, are critical to the state's SMARTER plan.

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