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Oakland schools to drop student mask mandate, though still ‘strongly recommended’

Oakland students can drop their masks starting April 25, the Oakland School District’s COVID Safety Team announced Friday.

While indoor face coverings will continue to be required through April 24, indoor masking inside schools and other campus facilities will be “strongly recommended” but not mandatory starting April 25, the safety team said in a Friday announcement.

The safety team said:

“Starting Monday, April 25, indoor masking will be strongly recommended in OUSD, consistent with guidance from the California Department of Public Health.” 

The announcement continued:

“As you know, OUSD has kept the indoor mask requirement in place to be sure we didn’t see a major surge coming out of spring break. Fortunately, the numbers within OUSD and countywide have stayed relatively low following spring break.”

The team noted that there is always the possibility that it would need to revert to requiring indoor masks if public health officials issue new guidance.

The Covid team also noted in its announcement:

“In some cases, masking may still be required, including, for example, following a positive case diagnosis.” 

California will not require K-12 students to get vaccinated against Covid-19 until at least 2023, state public health officials said this week.

The California Department of Public Health said in a statement Thursday that Covid vaccines will not be required for students until at least July 1, 2023, provided that they are fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for children under age 16 before then.

To date, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been fully approved for people ages 16 and up while the Moderna vaccine has been fully approved for adults. Children ages 5-16 are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine under the federal government’s emergency use authorization.

CDPH officials said they would wait until at least the 2023-2024 school year to give schools enough time for “successful implementation” of the vaccination requirement.

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