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Gov. Newsom expected to ease school mask mandate on Monday

California is set to end its indoor mask mandate on February 15.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — California is set to loosen mask mandates and officials say they're re-thinking school masks rules. 

Next week, Governor Gavin Newsom is set to announce an update to the state's guidelines. California is set to end its indoor mask mandate on February 15. 

But what does this mean for school kids?

David Miyashiro is the Superintendent of El Cajon School District. He says it's time to lift the mask mandate for California school kids. 

“I saw a post online of a teacher in Nevada announce to her class that they didn’t have to wear masks at school (the next day) and they screamed with joy and there were cheers and it's going all over social media now," said Miyashiro. "I'm hoping the same can be true for our children as soon as next week. The state of emergency is over. Let's end COVID related restrictions." 

Miyashiro said the changing guidelines and restrictions have taken a toll on students, parents, and teachers in his district and it’s time to go back to normal. 

"It's been a challenging time but I think rekindling our relationships with each other, returning to a place where we don't judge people by their decisions to wear a mask or not or judge people for getting a vaccine or not is really important at this point."

Richard Barrera, the trustee of the San Diego Unified School Board disagrees. 

"We listen to everyone's opinions but at the end of the day," said Barrera. "The opinions that are strongest for us are from health and science experts." 

Instead of an end to the mask mandate for school kids, Barrera says we should be looking for something else from the governor's announcement. 

"We should expect the beginning of a conversation for what some people are calling off-ramps to masking," said Barrera. "If you hit certain criteria for percentage of students who are vaccinated, where case rates are, you might start to see a relaxing of the indoor mask mandate."

Dr. Davey Smith at UC San Diego says it's time to start the conversations about how we make the turn from restrictions depending on the vaccination and infection rates. 

"We saw a tremendous drop in cases, which is what we were projecting to happen for a while with omicron," said Dr. Smith. "We saw a great surge because it was a super infectious virus so now we're seeing case numbers go down. We have to make the decisions on when to release the brake pedal, right?" 

Dr. Smith also says the rules can change at any time so stay vigilant. 

"It's going to be the new normal where we have public health agencies say, 'It's time to put our masks on. It's time to let our masks go," said Dr. Smith. "The data shows us very clearly that for respiratory viruses like the flu or COVID-19 that masks have an effect."

WATCH RELATED: County Supervisors push to phase-out masks in school (February 2022)

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