With Elections Looming, California Backs Off Mask Mandates for Kids in School

Elementary schoolchildren wearing a protective face masks in the classroom. Education during epidemic. - stock photo
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The State of California has decided not to re-impose mask mandates on children attending school when they return in the fall, a decision that may have had as much to do with looming elections as with the science of COVID-19 transmission.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday:

California kids will be allowed to go to school without face masks when classes resume in the fall. But public health officials still will recommend face coverings for students and staff in an effort to prevent COVID-19outbreaks at K-12 schools.

The state’s guidance, updated last week, allows a continuation of the mask-free classrooms that returned this spring.

As part of its mitigation strategies, the state strongly recommends that individuals stay up-to-date on vaccinations, that schools optimize indoor air quality and rely on rapid antigen tests over PCR tests to detect infections.

The new guidance was issued despite rising coronavirus cases and concerns about the contagious new BA.4 and BA.5 variants, which can reinfect some who had the illness before.

A year ago, facing a recall election, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and teachers’ unions reached an agreement to make sure that schools opened as scheduled in the fall, despite concerns about the delta variant and objections by some union leaders.

Newsom’s poll numbers recovered, and he went on to be confirmed in office by the same margin of victory he won in 2018.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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