California Updates School Masking Requirements
The following is a letter from Katie Kolker, Superintendent of BUSD Schools, sent on Feb. 28th, 2022.
Dear Bishop Unified School District Families, Staff, and Students,
Over the past two years we have worked to confront the COVID pandemic and have made our schools a safe place for learning. I’m encouraged to share that the state has finally reached a turning point in schools’ ability to reestablish some normalcy for schools. Today, the Governor of California released new guidance for the use of masks as well as the timeline for several settings including schools. What does that mean for Bishop school sites?
- After March 11, 2022 at midnight, masks will no longer be required in schools for students, but will be strongly recommended. (This will happen quickly – there are 8 school days between 3/1 – 3-11.)
- Students will have a choice when it comes to wearing a mask at any school or event that takes place at a school.
- CalOSHA is expected to align their guidance with the state’s, lifting the mask mandates for staff in school settings; however, we await CalOSHA’s response.
We appreciate and acknowledge that the state lifting the mask requirement may cause anxiety for some people, especially those who are at higher risk for COVID or live with someone who is at higher risk. We also recognize that there are community members who have been more than ready for the school mask requirement to be lifted for some time. Our local community trends continue to support this transition. This new chapter is focused on continuing the mitigation strategies we are familiar with in addition to a focus on personal responsibility and respect.
Respecting Personal Choice
- After March 11th, the state is providing personal choice for masking in schools with the expectation that individual choices are respected.
- One should not make assumptions regarding someone’s beliefs or health status based upon their choice to wear or not wear a mask.
- For young children, we are asking families to please let teachers know their wishes and we ask that teachers honor and support that choice. Classrooms should discuss the change with students in a developmentally appropriate manner, including how to respect personal choice.
- If students express any anxiety, feel free to reach out to school personnel for additional support as needed.
- Students and staff should continue to remain home when sick.
- Students and staff are encouraged to take a COVID-19 test if exhibiting symptoms and/or if they have a known exposure to COVID-19.
BUSD is looking foward to turning the page and beginning a new chapter together. We truly appreciate your patience, understanding and partnership.