California to require masks in classrooms despite CDC recommending otherwise


Despite new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggesting vaccinated teachers and students no longer need to wear masks inside school buildings, the state of California is keeping its mask mandate for K-12 campuses.

On Friday, the CDC issued new guidelines stating students and teachers who are not vaccinated against COVD-19 should continue to wear masks at school. Likewise, the CDC still recommends schools maintain at least three feet of distance between students within classrooms, and when that is not possible, use other strategies like requiring masks indoors. 

California responded by announcing it will keep its mask mandate for schools, in part, to enable all students to receive equal treatment.

“Masking is a simple and effective intervention that does not interfere with offering full in-person instruction,” said State Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly. “At the outset of the new year, students should be able to walk into school without worrying about whether they will feel different or singled out for being vaccinated or unvaccinated — treating all kids the same will support a calm and supportive school environment.”

Children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States. It appears, as long as that remains the case, the CDC is recommending students under the age of 12 continue to wear masks inside school buildings. 

CDC guidelines are not binding, and states can choose to implement their own rules.