Omicron Surge Prompting Some School Districts to Bolster Mask Requirements
Students attending LAUSD campuses must now wear well-fitting, non-cloth masks with nose wires.
Los Angeles, California — The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) announced on Friday that starting Monday, students are now required to wear “well-fitting, non-cloth masks with a nose wire” at all times, whether they are indoors or outdoors. All LAUSD employees are required to wear surgical grade masks or higher.
The district will provide these masks to students and employees at campuses if they need them.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently advised that Americans stop using cloth facial coverings and upgrade to N95 masks, which offer the highest level of protection against the highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19. Los Angeles County health authorities have also advocated for the shift away from cloth masks.
In Michigan, Pennfield Schools are now requiring face masks be worn, although it’s not banning cloth facial coverings. Face masks will be required for students and staff members during school hours and highly recommended for after-school activities, reports The Hill. The change in policy was approved by 58% of voters.
Although LAUSD and Pennfield Schools are bolstering their COVID-19-mitigation strategies, some school districts in other parts of the country are relaxing their mask mandates. On Thursday, the Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ board voted to make student masks optional. The change in policy came after Virginia’s newly elected governor, Glenn Youngkin, issued an executive order lifting the state’s previous mask mandate.
Virginia law requires schools to follow CDC guidelines, reports 13NewsNow. In response to Youngkin’s executive order, school boards in Fairfax County, Prince William County, Alexandria, Arlington, Richmond, Falls Church, and Hampton are challenging the order’s constitutionality, reports CBS News.
Last week the Biden administration said it will make 400 million N95 masks available to Americans for free starting this week. The masks, which are coming from the Strategic National Stockpile, will be available at pharmacies and community health centers. The federal government also launched its website where Americans can sign up to receive free COVID-19 tests.