SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD) is keeping its mask mandate in place for students, staff and visitors through Spring Break.
"That is ultimately what our board decided was to wait those four weeks to be really cautious — make sure that our case rates are really down (and) we're not seeing another variant coming," said Victoria Flores, Director of Student Support and Health Services at SCUSD.
At a special meeting on Tuesday, the Board of Education decided the district would follow the COVID-19 community levels meter from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
These community levels are determined by the number of cases, hospital beds being used and people admitted to the hospital. Right now, Sacramento is in the "medium" level, but once the county moves to a "low" level for four consecutive weeks, the district will change its masking policies.
The earliest that could happen would be April 18.
Other schools districts in California can adopt a mask optional policy beginning on March 12, although districts can adopt stricter guidelines as they see fit.
View the COVID-19 Community Levels HERE.
“The layered COVID mitigation efforts implemented in our schools, including masks, have contributed to keeping students and staff healthy so our schools could stay open,” said Christina Pritchett, Board President for the Sacramento City Unified School District Board of Education. “It is encouraging that COVID transmission rates appear to be declining. The ongoing COVID mitigation efforts implemented at our school sites will help this trend to continue.”
However, if Sacramento moves to a "high" community level, the district would reinstate indoors masking requirements.
Nearly 94% of students have already met the district's vaccine requirement or agreed to COVID testing. The remaining 2,330 students who have either not been vaccinated or agreed to test will not be enrolled into independent study because the district doesn't have the staffing capacity.
As of Tuesday, a high majority of district staff have met the vaccination requirement of submitting their vaccination statutes or an exemption.
"It makes sense for now"
"I'm ok with the mask mandate," said Abraham Lincoln Elementary School parent Oshakie Hollaway. "If they choose to keep it, I'm ok. Take it away, I'm fine."
Similar sentiments were echoed by Cristina Fones as she was picking up her son from A.M. Winn Elementary School on Wednesday.
"I think it makes sense for now for where we're at," said Fones. "It's just logical I think."
SCUSD says they haven't had any major issues with pushback from parents and students over masking during the pandemic. However, they say they're prepared to take necessary action towards anyone who is not in compliance.
Superintendent Jorge Aguilar said in a statement “SCUSD understands the deep impact the COVID pandemic has had on the mental health and well-being for many students, staff and community members, and that many people have strong feelings regarding masking.”
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