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Mask Mandate no More: Effective 4/4/22

by Max Allen

After two years and twenty-one days of pandemic modified learning, including an extended spring break, seeing blurred faces on Zoom calls, the quarter system, followed by hallways filled with mask-wearing students, as of April 4th, 2022 the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) has taken a big step towards “back to normal.” But what does that really mean, what can be expected in the future, and why is this happening now?

The big change that took place the day after spring break, on Monday, April 4th, was that masks were no longer mandated indoors. But don’t mistake this for the end of pandemic procedures. As stated on the SDUSD information page, “All other COVID-19 safety mitigations and protections including; air filtration, testing, handwashing, distancing when possible, self-screening for symptoms, case management, and contact tracing will remain in place.” Exceptions to this lifted mandate could include “students attending school while quarantining.”

To ensure that students and staff stay safe during this transition, COVID-19 testing continues to be available on the same schedule that it has been. Before spring break, at-home COVID tests were provided to all students and staff, just like they were before winter break. Everyone who was expecting to be on campus Monday, April 4th was asked to take these tests the night before to make sure that they weren’t coming on campus with a COVID infection.

SDUSD made the decision to lift the mask mandate because the Centers for Disease Control moved San Diego County into the lowest level of concern. However, the district continues to “monitor federal, state and local guidelines and remain ready to return to indoor masking if our community were to enter a higher level of concern.” This is another step of what has been a long process, and future decisions will continue to be based on what SDUSD and its advisors believe is best for our community.

Out of 17 PLHS students surveyed, 100% knew about the change, and regardless of the decisions of the district, students at PLHS have their own strong opinions. When asked their thoughts on the lifted mandate, sophomore Norah Mann replied, “I don’t like it and I’m going to keep my mask on. People are still getting COVID-19 and are still dying.” Another student, Clara Mello, agreed that she too will be keeping her mask on out of concern for her and her family’s safety.

Garrett Borrajero is more excited about the change, however. He believes, “the mask mandate being lifted is a sign of optimism for many parties including students.” He is excited because “this is a sign of progress.” Another sophomore, Ashley Carter, says that she is looking forward to it as well, though she is fearful of the decision not sticking through the rest of the school year. Corrina Kelley took a more neutral position on the topic of masks, but stated that she would prefer if all students were vaccinated.

One of the most important pieces of information to remember during this change is that you have options and should do what makes you the most comfortable. This message was relayed by student Ava Mulno, who thinks, “as long as students are respecting those who still wish to wear their mask, then it will work out. I’m excited we’ve gotten to a point where we can loosen the mask mandate.”

Wearing a mask is still encouraged by the district, and if you would like to continue wearing your mask, inside, outside, or in certain classrooms, the choice is yours. But if you would like to remove your mask entirely, you are now free to do so. Be respectful towards others’ choices, remember to do what makes you comfortable, and feel free to begin unmasking at your own pace!

Further information, as well as updates on COVID-19 regulations in SDUSD, will continue to be posted here.


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