Morgan Delgadillo wearing a mask and Kylie Hayes not wearing one to show how students now have an option to wear a mask. Photography by Hayley Durrant. (Hayley Durrant)
Morgan Delgadillo wearing a mask and Kylie Hayes not wearing one to show how students now have an option to wear a mask. Photography by Hayley Durrant.

Hayley Durrant

Lift of Mask Mandate

March 9, 2022

On February 7th, Governor Gavin Newsom and State Health Officials announced the mask mandate for vaccinated residents will be lifted both in and outdoors, due to the decline of COVID-19 cases in California. Although this new mask mandate will apply to most indoor facilities, masks will still be mandatory for unvaccinated residents in nursing homes and public transport due to these places being high risk. 

Indoor events that contain 1,000 or more people are requiring those who are not vaccinated to wear a mask and those who are vaccinated have the choice on whether they want to wear one or not. At outdoor events that include 10,000 or more people, they are not required to be fully vaccinated but are still required to wear masks or test negative for COVID. 

In addition to the lift of the mask mandate, California is lifting the requirement to test negative for COVID-19 before visiting hospitals and nursing homes. The lift of these requirements is one step closer to going back to “normality,” which many are eager to return to. Although California is striving to go back to how life was before the pandemic by lifting the mask mandate, people still need to keep in mind that the virus is not completely gone and that we all need to remain cautious. 

California health officials say  “they are working with education and public health to update mask mandates for schools in order to adapt to the changing conditions while maintaining safety for students, teachers, and staff.”

California counties including Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino, and Riverside have lifted the restrictions on wearing masks indoors. Recently, as of February 25th, 2022, Los Angeles County has also lifted its restrictions; however, individuals are required to show proof of vaccination or show a negative COVID-19 test before being allowed to enter an establishment. 

Ashley Ornelas, a student at Huntington Beach High School (HBHS), says, “I am happy that we’re starting to go back to a state of normality… hopefully when it’s safe for everyone we can ultimately stop wearing masks at school.” 

On February 28th, Governor Gavin Newson announced that masks would no longer be required at school beginning March 12. Students and teachers will have the option to wear a mask regardless of their vaccination status. Although they are lifting the mandate, health officials still strongly recommend that students wear their masks in order to keep themselves and others safe from the virus. 

Although some students are excited to have the option of wearing a mask, some students still think it’s too soon. 

Ella Acciacca, a senior at HBHS says “I just don’t feel safe yet. I know a lot of people are too anxious to go to school without double masking and this will only make it worse. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.” 

Christian Grombone, a sophomore at HBHS says, “I disagree with the lift of the mask mandate at school because it only makes COVID come back. When masks got lifted in most parts of California, Omicron spread faster than ever. Something like that could easily happen again and we would all start at square one. I think we need to stop rushing out of the masks and wait a bit to take them off.” 

Students walk past each other, and one student is wearing a mask and the other is not. Photography by Hayley Durrant

 The Huntington Beach Union High School District (HBUHSD) sent out an email to students and their family members about the new indoor mask policy for K-12 schools. In the email sent out, the HBUHSD said, “Per the CDPH [California Department of Public Health], HBUHSD will adhere to the following: Masks will be strongly recommended indoors for K-12 schools, however, will not be required. Masks continue to remain optional outdoors.” 

Tyler Durrant, a junior at HBHS, adds “I am excited that the mask mandate is optional because the school will begin to feel normal again.” 

The HBUHSD says, “The health and safety of our students, staff, and families remains our priority as we focus on providing the highest quality educational experience.”

As COVID cases are declining, things are slowly starting to go back to normal. Some students at HBHS are excited that the pandemic is slowly coming to an end and are thrilled to finally see their classmates’ faces again, whereas others are scared that the lift of the mandate will result in more cases. 

If you’d like to read more information about the HBUHSD response feel free to look at the link below.

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