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State of California—Health and Human Services Agency
California Department of Public Health

March 7, 2022

All Californians

Local considerations for maintaining or establishing universal indoor masking requirements in K-12 schools.

Effective end-of-day March 11, 2022, California transitions its statewide universal indoor masking requirement in K-12 school settings to a strong recommendation that individuals (e.g., students and staff) continue to wear masks indoors.  Thereafter, California affirms the authority of local health departments and local educational agencies to maintain or establish masking requirements for K-12 school settings in their respective jurisdictions.

When making the determination of whether a local universal indoor masking requirement should be maintained or established in K-12 school settings, CDPH recommends local health and education officials confer, with consideration of the factors listed below.  Reliance on the composite situation, rather than any one single factor, is recommended when making determinations.

  • Pandemic patterns and pathogen characteristics:
    • local epidemiology, including COVID-19 case rates, test positivity, and hospitalization data;
    • evidence suggestive of heightened in-school transmission (i.e., clear outbreaks in school and persistent transmission due to in-school exposures); and
    • circulating variant characteristics, including concern regarding increased virulence, immune evasion, and/or treatment effectiveness.
  • Prevention, assessment, and treatment of COVID-19:
    • school, LEA and/or community vaccination rates;
    • indoor air quality at school-based facilities, including use of recommended strategies to improve ventilation and/or filtration;
    • availability and accessibility of masks with good fit and filtration;
    • availability and accessibility of prompt and regular COVID-19 testing; and
    • ability to provide treatments for COVID-19 in a timely and equitable fashion as they become available for children.
  • Population characteristics:
    • local demographics, including serving specialized populations of individuals at high risk of severe disease and/or immunocompromised populations, and any additional protective measures that can be implemented for those students;
    • equity considerations, including serving communities disproportionately exposed to and impacted by COVID-19;
    • staffing considerations, including the ability to maintain in-person instruction (e.g., monitoring for staff infections and exposures);
    • and community input, including from student, parent/guardian, and staff populations.