Local school communities should proceed with caution, focused on health, safety and science
BURLINGAME — Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today announced new COVID-19 guidance that move from universal mask requirements to mask recommendations in all schools after March 11. The new guidance, along with the revised metrics from the CDC released last week, does not preclude school districts and local governments from taking measures to protect the health and safety of students, educators and their families. California Teachers Association President E. Toby Boyd, a kindergarten teacher, issued the following statement:
“We share the optimism of Gov. Gavin Newsom and CDPH officials that declining COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations allow us to see light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. Reaction to today’s announcement will be mixed. Simply put, while some students are ready to immediately remove their masks, others remain very afraid. We urge local school districts to continue to work with educators and families and to act cautiously while prioritizing the safety of students, educators, and their families.
“From day one, safety has been and continues to be the priority for California educators who have spent the last two years confronting COVID’s ever-evolving challenges as individuals, as parents, and as teachers and school professionals. They have put their hearts and souls into meeting the academic and social emotional needs of their students while also caring for their own families.
“CTA supports local decisions that include the voice and expertise of local educators and families in determining the safety of school communities. Multi-layered mitigation strategies including vaccines, strong testing programs, good school ventilation systems and masks have been key to ensuring the stability of in-person teaching and learning. We continue to encourage all students and adults who are eligible to get vaccinated and booster shots as needed.
“Change is never easy, and today’s announcement is bound to disrupt and destabilize some school communities. As we transition to the next phase of living with COVID-19, we must go forward with respect, understanding, and care for each other.”