Indoor masking now optional for LAUSD students, staff after mandate lifted

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Wednesday, March 23, 2022
Indoor mask mandate lifted for LAUSD students, staff
Wednesday was the first day Los Angeles Unified School District students were no longer required to wear a mask indoors.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Wednesday was the first day Los Angeles Unified School District students were no longer required to wear a mask indoors.

The LAUSD Board of Educations signed off on the plan Tuesday after the union representing the district's teachers, UTLA, approved the new guidelines. The LAUSD had maintained its indoor mask mandate even after the state and county lifted its requirements on March 12.

Masking, however, will still be required for staff and students in Early Education Centers where students are not yet eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Nearly all LAUSD students and staff have moved a step closer to being able to remove their masks indoors beginning Wednesday under an agreement approved by the teachers' union.

"Suffice it to say at this point, that based on improved conditions in our community and certainly in our school system as a result of the proactive measures adopted by this board, have led to conditions that have allowed for the significant relaxation of existing protocols," LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho told the Board of Education on Tuesday.

"We continue to be guided by science and we are where we are today because of the early adoption of the measures."

The district's labor agreements also call for continued weekly COVID testing of all students and staff through the end of the school year with masks "strongly recommended" indoors.

The district also must continue to offer KN95 or N95 masks to any employee who requests them. The district also must provide take-home COVID tests to all students and staff, who will be instructed to take the tests prior to returning from spring break.

The agreement will be in place until June 30. Additional talks are expected later to determine protocols for the next school year.

LAUSD Medical Director Dr. Smita Malhotra told the board masks will still be recommended in schools, and thus, students and staff are free to keep wearing them.

"We're not saying that people should not mask," she said. "Every family must evaluate their own level of risk and comfort. We understand that many adults and children will continue to mask and that is entirely OK. The district will continue to monitor thresholds with our health partners for when mitigation measures need to be escalated."

City News Service contributed to this report.