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California keeps indoor school mask mandate despite CDC’s relaxed guidance

State public health officials announced Friday that they will release updated guidance for the fall school semester next week encouraging schools to return to full in-person classes.

The California Department of Public Health plans to issue its updated school guidance on Monday with an emphasis on Covid-19 testing support for schools and safety measures like wearing face coverings indoors.

The CDPH’s announcement followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s announcement Friday that it will support full, in-person schooling for the fall semester and that it will not require face coverings for fully vaccinated students and staff or at least 3 feet of distance between students within classrooms.

The CDPH, however, will require students and staff to continue wearing face coverings indoors, regardless of vaccination status, to “ensure that all kids are treated the same.”

State Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in a statement:

“At the outset of the new year, students should be able to walk into school without worrying about whether they will feel different or singled out for being vaccinated or unvaccinated — treating all kids the same will support a calm and supportive school environment.”

To help fund the state’s school system, Gov. Gavin Newsom also signed a funding package Friday that will allocate nearly $124 billion to support expanded afterschool and summer learning programs, increase school staff sizes and make pre-kindergarten available for free for all of the state’s 4-year-olds by 2025.

Newsom said in a statement:

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in California’s future and expand opportunities for every child across the state.”

Updated information on the state’s school guidance and reopenings can be found at https://schools.covid19.ca.gov.

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