In March 2020, California became the first U.S. state to issue a stay-at-home order to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Two years later, Covid-19 policies here and elsewhere are being rolled back, a shift that is sowing divisions among those who once agreed on how best to deal with the pandemic.
One of the most controversial changes in California was the removal of a statewide school mask rule.
As of late last week, the state no longer required students and teachers to wear masks in classrooms, although some areas, including Los Angeles and Sacramento, will maintain those rules for now.Nationally, 68 percent of major school districts no longer require masks, according to tracking site Burbio.
In light of the heated debate, we asked readers how they feel about the end of the California school mask mandate.Polls show that Californians are widely divided on this issue, and your responses reflect that.
You’ve been writing to me about your hesitancy about taking off your mask – what one reader described as “not finishing a course of antibiotics”.Or you worry that change is coming too late, because the social development of students has suffered irreparable damage over the past two years.
I have received input from hundreds of teachers, parents, students, school counselors, and community members with many comments on school mask regulations.Here are some of their points, slightly edited for clarity and brevity:
“As a teacher with multiple autoimmune diseases and an immunocompromised student in my class, I worry for myself and my children. I cannot understand the level of selfishness and lack of empathy in these decisions.” —Margaret Colburn, Los Angeles
“I’m so glad the mask came off my young child. Time has passed! We know how low the risk is for kids and they deserve the normal childhood we all love.” – Melinda Ulu, St.K. Ruth
“My son’s secondary school has seen cases drop and no staff or students have tested positive for weeks. However, I will tell my son to wear a mask until the new rules are lifted. If cases start to rise again, I will Would rather be ahead of the curve in this.” —Brook Habeck, Redwood City
“I’m a student in Los Angeles, so I’ve endured some of the most overbearing Covid-19 measures since we returned to school in August. Cases have dropped to less than 1,000 a day, and we have a high rate of vaccinations. If Not now, then when?” — Shane Masterson, Los Angeles
“I’m a school counselor. I’m uncomfortable with the mask-wearing rule and how schools (in Santa Clara County) have made it ‘optional, but strongly encouraged.’ There is further division and debate between students who are masked and those who prefer not to be masked. This is another component of which children and parents will be divided, a division that is now visible and obvious to everyone. “—Christina Soto, Sunnyvale
“I’m glad it’s lifted, but I don’t think everyone is going to stop and that’s okay! I teach in a middle school, so I know some students and colleagues who will continue to wear masks because of their health, or at the student’s situation, they are insecure about how they look. I think it’s appropriate for them to make that choice and feel comfortable in school. Personally, I’m happy to see all their weird little faces again (I believe the other way around) as well).” —Ed Chaney, Clovis
“My kids are 8 and 12, healthy and fully vaccinated, so I think they’ll be fine with or without a mask. But on the other hand, for the past two years, we’ve been Working hard to not get Covid-19; it seems silly to drop our primary defense now. I would feel more comfortable if only vaccinated students could take off their masks. As parents, for the past two years, we have had to I was exhausted from making so many impossible choices and changes.” — Leslie Suen, Truckee
High-speed rail: Cost inflation, political wrangling and legal challenges have put the completion of California’s high-speed rail system at a crossroads.
Gubernatorial race: Politico reports that every high-profile Republican running against Gov. Gavin Newsom in the recall race will be running later this year.
McDonald’s lawsuit: A California tech company trying to fix a malfunctioning ice cream machine accuses McDonald’s of defamation.
How free is California?: As election looms, party demands, denunciations and purity tests expose divisions between progressives and moderates, our guest essayist writes.
The importance of words: UC Irvine men’s basketball coach Russell Turner keeps his job but rethinks his place in a male sports culture that often includes casual discriminatory language .
Abuse allegations: A senior Republican senator wants to delay a vote on Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s nomination to serve as ambassador to India, according to the Associated Press survey.
Hollister Fire: A wildfire near Santa Barbara was 20 percent contained Sunday, according to the Associated Press.
Restoration: The last Woolworth lunch counter in the U.S. in Bakersfield is currently undergoing restoration, SFGate reports.
San Francisco school board: Three weeks after voting to remove members of the San Francisco school board, London Mayor Breed filled vacant positions with women from diverse backgrounds.
Off-grid: Some Californians in rural areas and suburban San Francisco use only the energy they produce.
Voter Fraud: An acting sheriff in Del Norte County faces felony charges for submitting false voter registration and nomination documents, according to the Associated Press.
“In the early spring, it’s full of wildflowers and people from all over Northern California travel there. The creek runs through parts of the hills and there are at least two waterfalls.”
Tell us about your favorite places to go in California.Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com.We will share more in our upcoming newsletter.
Before the pandemic, Ron King was a senior media executive traveling between New York and Los Angeles.
Kim wants to save the donkeys, which are increasingly being slaughtered to sell their skins.Each of the 97 donkeys living on his ranch was rescued from death.
Mariel Wamsley and Jonah Candelario contributed to California Today.You can reach our team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.
Post time: Mar-20-2022