California to lift mask mandate in schools on March 12

The new rule applies to schools and child care facilities.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Starting mid-March, masks will no longer be required, but will be 'strongly recommended' in California schools, according to updated guidance issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday.

The new rule applies to schools and child care facilities and will begin on Saturday, March 12.

RELATED: Valley parents await state announcement on masks in schools

Newsom also announced that starting Tuesday, March 1, masks will no longer be required but will be highly recommended for unvaccinated individuals in most indoor settings.

"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," said Newsom. "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."

Masks will still be required in high transmission areas like buses, hospitals, homeless shelters, and long-term care facilities.

Oregon and Washington adopted similar policies on Monday.

This update comes two weeks after the indoor mask mandate expired for vaccinated adults, and just days after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance on masking in the classroom.

Based on this CDC map, most counties in Central California have high COVID-19 community levels - all of the ones shaded Orange.

According to the state, California educates 12% of the country's students in kindergarten through the 12th grade, yet with its stricter policies, has only accounted for 1% of school closures due to COVID-19.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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