Three states with among the strictest mask mandates in the U.S. announced school students will no longer have to wear the coverings indoors starting on March 12.
The governors for California, Oregon and Washington made the joint announcement on Monday. They cited declining COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations in their respective states. The press released added that state policies do not change federal requirements, which still included masks on public transit. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday updated its guidance to no longer require masks be worn on buses or vans operated by public or private school systems, including early care and education/child care programs. But CDC said individual school districts, especially those located in high-risk areas, may choose to continue requiring masks be worn on buses.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article failed to note the CDC updated guidance on wearing masks on school buses.
However, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said students and staff will still be “strongly recommended” to continue wearing masks. “Masks will still be required for everyone in high transmission settings like public transit, emergency shelters, health care settings, correctional facilities, homeless shelters and long-term care facilities,” he added in a statement. “As always, local jurisdictions may have additional requirements beyond the state guidance.”
The same stipulations exist in Oregon and Washington, the latter seeing new mask guidance coming from the Washington State Department of Health next week to help schools plan the implementation of new safety protocols, said Gov. Jay Inslee.
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