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Local school districts react to updated mask guidance from the state

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Posted at 5:05 PM, Jul 14, 2021

Hours after the State of California announced it would not allow students who were maskless into the classroom, the California Department of Public Health reversed that statement.

Deputy Superintendent of the Lompoc Unified School District Bree Valla says the district will monitor any changes made and adjust accordingly prior to this school year.

"Parents are as confused as I think the rest of the general public is. There's definitely some confusion on how you can go other places without masks yet school is the exception," Valla said.

On Monday, the State of California announced schools would have to provide other off-campus options for students who refuse to wear a mask. A few hours later, that was revised.

"As it relates to enforcement, it's always been a local responsibility," Governor Gavin Newsom said during a press conference.

While the CDC has advised that only unvaccinated students and teachers should continue to wear masks, the guidance does not replace local policies.

This means each individual school district will now need to decide how to enforce mask mandates.

"I think it's better if she wears her mask. It's better, to protect her," said parent Sheryn Uuiazon about her school-age daughter.

Valla said they will continue to monitor what the California Public Health Department recommends, especially now that students will return to campus this fall five days a week.

"We have meetings scheduled with our site administrators a week before school starts so we can have the most up-to-date information so that we can have the week right before school that admin can have meetings with various families and answer any questions they might have," she said.

Another local school district, San Luis Coastal Unified, stated in part, "It is the expectations of the district that individuals wear face-covering indoors regardless of vaccination status in accordance with the CDPH guidance."

They, too, plan on updating any guidance prior to the start of the school year if necessary. Parents in both districts should expect information closer to the start of the school year.

"As we have seen with this pandemic, things change rapidly so we don't want to commit to something to then have to find out that the guidance has changed, so we will continue to monitor and adjust our safety protocols," Valla said.

Lompoc Unified School District is set to begin in-person instruction on August 16.