Students, staff required to wear masks inside Fresno County classrooms

This requirement is based on guidance by the California Department of Public Health.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Students and staff will be required to wear masks inside the classroom when Fresno County schools begin the fall semester next month.

Fresno County School Superintendent Jim Yovino explained how the guidelines established by the California Public Health Department (CDPH) will work.

"When you're in a classroom in schools in Fresno County, you wear a mask," says Fresno County School Superintendent Jim Yovino, explaining guidance by the California Department of Public Health. "When you're outside the classroom, the mask can be removed."

Yovino says other county superintendents around the state agreed social distancing was the biggest barrier to reopening schools, so the state dropped that requirement.

"We have some class sizes up to 38 students per class," he said. "You cannot possibly put 38 students in a 900 square foot room and keep them three feet apart."

The CDC also says kids must wear masks in class if social distancing can't be achieved.

RELATED: California backpedals after saying schools should bar maskless students from campus

Yovino says just 24% of Fresno County kids between 12-18 have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination.

Kids younger than that aren't eligible to get the vaccine yet.

"In Fresno County schools, we have approximately 76% of our students who have not been vaccinated," Yovino said.

Families are encouraged to get eligible kids vaccinated but it is not a requirement to return to the classroom.

FUSD Superintendent Bob Nelson said in a statement to Action News, "Fresno Unified School District will have masks available for students and will work one on one with families for alternative supports for students with medical conditions."

Alternative support could include online classes.

Again, the state will leave it up to individual schools and districts to enforce mask wearing rules on campus.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.