How will California’s changes to the mask mandate affect OPHS?


Masks are no longer mandatory for vaccinated people but are still required in hospitals in schools – Mika Baumeister/Unsplash

Ventura County’s indoor mask order for vaccinated people has been lifted as of Feb. 15th. This can mean many different things for our school and county as a whole. Will school not require masks? How will prom and other dances play out? Will this lead to a spike in COVID?

“As of this time, there is no change to the CDPH masking requirement for K-12 schools, and face coverings will continue to be required at schools until CDPH changes guidance,” Oak Park Unified School District superintendent Dr. Jeff Davis wrote in a StudentSquare post. 

The government has eased the mask mandate, but California schools students and staff are still required to wear masks. Yet other questions remain unanswered, such as: What will the mask mandates be after school hours or at school events?

“California has seen a downturn in certain health metrics, including case rates, test positivity, and hospitalizations. The State will continue to assess COVID-19 conditions for the next two weeks. OPUSD will review the recommendations expected to be released on February 28 and provide you with an update,” Davis wrote in the post. 

People are concerned about the future of mask mandates because they may worry that no masks may cause a COVID spike or how mask-wearing affects school children and social interaction.

“During the press conference, Dr. Ghaly shared that if current trend lines continue, CDPH would consider softening or eliminating the school masking mandate at a specific date in the future and would likely announce that timetable on February 28. In the meantime, the department will reassess case rates, test positivity, overall hospitalizations, pediatric hospitalizations, and vaccination rates to decide when school masking requirements might expire,” Davis wrote. 

OPUSD stressed that the goal is to keep students and staff safe while in school.

“My thoughts are that I want to keep students and staff safe while maintaining high academic and personal standards for everyone on the OPHS campus. Our teachers have done an amazing job throughout the pandemic with all its challenges and they will continue to do so,” Mat McClenahan, principal at Oak Park High School said.