A mask choice resolution will be voted on during the Feb. 22 school board meeting

PASO ROBLES — Last week, students at local schools have begun protesting the mask mandate, which ended in San Luis Obispo (SLO) County on Feb. 16—except for students and staff in schools.

Paso Robles High School (PRHS) was the first to see mask protesting from its students on Tuesday, Feb. 15, the day the State mask mandate ended. Students protested peacefully and even spoke with the board of Paso Robles Joint Unified School District (PRJUSD). One student started a petition on change.org. As of Monday, Feb. 21, the petition has 2,423 signatures out of its 2,500 signature goal.

An update on the petition, ‘Optional Mask Wearing at Paso Robles High School,’ says, “We will be taking data from this petition to the school board this coming Tuesday. We will have multiple students from PRHS there speaking on the topic of masks and all aspects of them.”

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

You can find more information on the Paso Robles High School mask protest here.

A resolution for mask choice has been added on the Tuesday, Feb. 22 school board meeting. 

I.6. Consideration of Modification of Mask Mandate for Students 

Staff will present four possible actions for the Board to consider:

  1. Adopt Resolution No. 22-13 Regarding Mask Mandates for Students
  2. A member of the public has requested that the District create a new exemption policy regarding mask mandates and future COVID-19 related policies. The request states that all requests for exemption from a student, employee, contractor, subcontractor, volunteer, parent, or visitor be presumed legitimate until proven otherwise.
  3. Stay the course aligned with state requirements. PRJUSD has a mask exemption process aligned to CDPH. Additionally, for a student with a disability, if the disability impedes them from either being able to wear a mask for medical reasons, or due to their disability, an IEP team must meet and determine what, if any, accommodations or modifications are necessary for the student to access their special education and related services. This would require an IEP team review and in many cases may need to include a team member from the district’s nursing services. 
  4. Table this discussion until the Mar. 8 Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees due to anticipated state announcement Feb. 28 regarding updated mask mandate in youth settings.

A portion of the resolution reads:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District will implement, regardless of vaccination status, personal and parental choice with respect to whether or not children should wear face coverings while at school commencing immediately

Additionally, PRJUSD Board President Chris Arend will be presenting item I.7. Exoneration of Student Protesters: A member of the public has asked the Board to exonerate any student involved in the protest against the mask mandate on Feb. 15.

The PRHS students who participated in the mask protesting on Tuesday told Paso Robles Press they plan to attend the school board meeting on Feb. 22 to advocate their cause. 

Following the PRHS student protest, other schools are now holding their own demonstrations. On Friday, Feb. 18, Templeton High School students held their own protest. 

The school board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. and is open to the public and live-streamed on YouTube here.

The full Feb. 22 agenda can be found here.