The San Ramon Valley Unified School District Superintendent's Office on Tuesday announced an upcoming shift from required indoor masking to a recommendation, slated to take effect the week of March 14.
The announcement comes following Monday's move by Gov. Gavin Newsom to lift indoor mask requirements in schools, effective at 11:59 p.m. on March 11, citing declining rates of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Starting Tuesday, the state no longer requires masks for unvaccinated people in other public settings.
SRVUSD Superintendent John Malloy's announcement echoes Newsom's latest shift away from masking requirements and towards recommendations.
"We are empathetic to the fact that there continues to be diverse views and opinions on masking," Malloy said in Tuesday's statement. "I ask our entire school community to pull together, please, to respect everyone's personal choice regarding masking, free of judgment, teasing or peer pressure."
"I also want to reiterate what the CDPH said today in their update: Be Kind. Be Accepting. Be Respectful. Be Safe," Malloy added.
Malloy cited what he said has been the district's guiding principle in COVID-19 mitigation measures in schools, as grounds for lifting the requirement. These are "to fulfill but not exceed local and state public health requirements."
Contra Costa Health Services also announced new requirements in the wake of the new statewide policy Monday. While students in childcare and K-12 schools are no longer required to wear masks indoors, it remains recommended and school districts may opt to maintain an indoor masking requirement if they choose.
CCHS additionally advises that "people at schools and childcare facilities should wear masks if they were exposed to someone with COVID for up to 10 days."
The state and local lifting of mask requirements in schools follows updated recommendations from the CDC, which no longer include recommendations for mask requirements except in schools within areas that have high rates of COVID-19 transmission.
"We anticipate that the state will be releasing additional guidance for school employees within the next two weeks," Malloy said. "We will share that guidance when it becomes available."
CCHS noted that schools aside, "masking will still be required in high-risk settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes and public transportation regardless of vaccination status."