Starting Mar. 1, masks will no longer be required for unvaccinated people

CALIFORNIA — California, Oregon, and Washington announced the end of mask mandates for students in a joint statement on Monday, Feb. 28. Starting Mar. 12, masks will no longer be required in school and child care facilities. However, they are still strongly recommended.

In California, starting Mar. 1, masks will no longer be required for unvaccinated individuals but will be strongly recommended for all individuals in most indoor settings. 

California Governor Gavin Newsom gave the following statement:

“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 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.”

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

Masks will still be required for everyone in high transmission settings like public transit, emergency shelters, health care settings, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and long-term care facilities. As always, local jurisdictions may have additional requirements beyond the state guidance.

On Feb. 15, California dropped their mask mandate for vaccinated residents, except in public transit, indoors in K-12 schools and childcare, healthcare settings, State and local correctional facilities and detention centers, homeless shelters, and adult/senior care facilities.

That same day, many local students began protesting the mask mandate. Most notably was the Paso Robles High School protest, which resulted in a mask choice resolution passed by the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District on Feb. 22. Read the full article on the school’s protest and mask choice resolution here. 

Templeton students began their own push for mask choice with protests throughout the last two weeks. Over 100 parents and students were present at the Feb. 24 Templeton Unified School Board meeting, advocating for mask choice. Some parents from other school districts came to the meeting to show their support for Templeton students and parents seeking mask choice. 

Ultimately, the board decided to wait for the State’s mandate update today but scheduled a special board meeting to discuss the new mandate and possibly provide another option. The special board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Mar. 1, in the Templeton Elementary School (TES) Multi-purpose Room (MPR) at 6 pm. 

Atascadero Unified School District will be providing a COVID-19 and mask mandate update during their board meeting on Mar. 1. This is an information item only with no actions to be taken.

On Monday, Feb. 28, AUSD Superintendent Tom Butler sent the following email to parents and staff:

Today, the Governor of the State of California announced that the State’s requirement for masking in schools will expire on Friday, Mar. 11, allowing students regardless of vaccination status, to be without a face mask at school beginning on Monday, Mar. 14. This will allow all families and students to make an individual choice in regard to wearing a mask inside the classroom. Atascadero Unified School District will be fully implementing this guidance on Mar. 14.

In the meantime, if there are any further official announcements that allow for an earlier legal adoption of mask choice in the classroom, then AUSD is fully ready to implement those immediately.

As we follow this new guidance, it is important that we support and respect all students in their individual choice in regard to wearing a mask. It is imperative that all students are valued and respected with the choice that their family supports. Thanks in advance to all of our school communities for supporting positive environments on all of the school campuses.

At this time all AUSD employees and parent volunteers are still required to wear a mask inside the school setting. We will work closely with both of our Employee Associations (ADTA and CSEA) to make the adjustment as soon as Cal/OSHA releases the current guidance for employees in the workplace.

We are pleased that our county and school district community are healthy and that we can return to operating our schools in a traditional manner with an ongoing dedication to prepare all of our students for college, career, and positive citizenship.

Thanks for your understanding and ongoing support of AUSD.