Los Angeles schools announce end of classroom mask mandate

The Los Angeles Unified School District — the largest U.S. school district still requiring masks for staff and students — says it will lift the mandate next week as COVID-19 infection rates continue to plunge

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Unified School District — the largest U.S. school district still requiring masks for staff and students — announced Friday it will lift the mandate as COVID-19 infection rates continue to climb. dive.

The nation’s second-largest school district said it would drop the requirement by next Wednesday after reaching an agreement with the teachers’ union, although other virus safety measures such as weekly testing will remain. in place throughout the school year.

LAUSD has more than 600,000 K-12 students. The nation’s largest district, New York, ended its mask mandate on March 7, with the exception of classrooms serving children under age 5, who are not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. 19.

United Teachers Los Angeles had been reluctant to end the school mask mandate until a large majority of students and staff had been vaccinated. This has frustrated some parents who have seen the state, Los Angeles County and many local districts drop their mandates, and small protests have taken place in recent weeks at several schools.

However, the county still recommends that masks be worn in schools.

“I want to personally thank our students, employees and families for their support and patience,” LAUSD Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said in a statement. “We know that some in our school communities and offices will continue to wear masks, while others will not. . Please consider your situation and do what is best for you or your child.”

The move comes as California emerges from a deadly winter surge of COVID-19 fueled by the omicron variant. Public health officials say widespread vaccinations have helped reduce the number of cases and hospitalizations. The state reported Friday that that seven-day daily average of new cases was 6.5 per 100,000 people. This compares to a case rate of 72.4 cases per 100,000 in December.

The state also claims that 83.6% of the population has been vaccinated.

On Friday, the California Department of Public Health announced that starting April 1, people attending indoor concerts, sporting events and other “mega events” drawing crowds of 1,000 or more will not have to prove that they have been vaccinated or recently tested. negative for COVID-19.

However, event holders can decide to maintain the requirements, which health officials say is highly recommended.

ABC News

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