Superintendent’s Message – Indoor Mask Update – March 8

Tuesday, March 8th, 2022 - Posted in All District News COVID District Communications

March 8, 2022

 

Dear PUSD Community,

I am writing to provide clarification to the letter sent last week regarding changes to the District’s indoor mask requirement to align with new state and county guidelines. As you recall, on February 28, the state of California issued new guidance regarding its indoor masking mandate for K-12 schools, moving from a requirement to a “strong recommendation” to mask in indoor school settings effective at 12:00am, March 12. On March 3, the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) announced it would align with the state’s guidelines. Following the County’s announcement and support from the Alameda County Office of Education, I announced the District would align with the new guidelines effective Monday, March 14, lifting the indoor mask requirement for students and staff.

After hearing from community members, I am aware the letter’s use of the terms ‘optional’ and ‘mask-optional environment’ were confusing and may have caused misinterpretation of the District’s intent for its masking policy. Those terms were used solely to convey that as of next Monday, students and staff would have the option to not wear a mask indoors – if they so choose – and does not represent an overall ‘mask-optional’ policy. PUSD is firmly aligned with the state and Alameda County’s decision that indoor masking is ‘strongly recommended’ for all individuals while on campus. Last week’s letter did not make that clear and I apologize for the confusion. 

As I wrote previously, anyone wishing to continue wearing a mask indoors as recommended is absolutely encouraged to do so. In addition, as I summarized last week, the District’s COVID Safety Plan will remain in effect and all measures including ventilation, cleaning and testing will continue. School Districts also retain the authority to reinstate masking requirements if conditions change. 

Last week, California Health & Human Services Secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly, gave a video presentation summarizing the new indoor masking guidelines and providing some background. The video can be found here

Thank you, as always, for your partnership in creating a healthy and inclusive school community.

Sincerely,

Randall Booker, Superintendent

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