CALIFORNIA, USA — As California prepares to drop its mask mandate June 15, many parents are questioning if their kids will be required to wear a mask when they return to school this fall.
Right now, it's still unclear. However, it will depend on guidance from the California Department of Public Health.
At this point, a mask requirement is still in place. On the CDPH website, it states: "Students in all grade levels K-12 are required to wear face coverings at all times, while at school, unless exempted."
Exemptions include the following:
- Those under the age of 2-years-old
- A mental health condition or disability that impedes a student from properly wearing or handling a mask
- Or when it inhibits communication with someone who is hearing impaired
"Our kids are suffering behind their masks mentally, emotionally. A lot of people can't see what's going on behind those masks," said Sharon McKeeman of Carlsbad.
McKeeman, a mom of four, is the founder of ‘Let Them Breathe,’ an organization promoting mask choice.
She was one of the driving forces behind a lawsuit to reopen schools, and said they're prepared to do the same if CDPH doesn't change its guidance.
"Sadly, June 15, the summer camp and school mask mandates are not set to be lifted. That's why, 'Let Them Breathe' is sending a legal letter to CDPH urging them to immediately revise the facial covering guidelines for summer camps and for schools," said McKeeman.
All schools in California, both public and private, are required to follow CDPH guidelines.
CDPH has said it will be making changes for the upcoming school year, telling News 8 in a statement:
"As we approach June 15 and California's lifting of most public health restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will give clear guidance to businesses, schools and other settings where masks may be required, recommended or not necessary."
It's unknown what that updated guidance will be and if it will be different for students who are vaccinated, versus those who are not.
Currently, only those ages 12 and older are eligible to get a vaccine.
“We hope they follow the science on this one, but we know from the school reopening struggle that we can't delay as parents on advocacy,” said McKeeman.
‘Let Them Breathe’ is holding a rally this Saturday, June 5 at 9:30 a.m. at Pine Avenue Park in Carlsbad.
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