OAKLAND, Calif. - The first bells of the new school year will ring in Oakland on Monday and students are heading back to campus with a sense of normalcy.
For the first time in a long time, students won't need to worry about COVID-19 protocols. No mask mandates. And no vaccine requirements.
This time last year, students had to come to school with a face covering.
But Alameda County recently lifted its newest indoor mask mandate at the end of June, meaning school districts had about a month to decide if they wanted to relax those rules as well.
Oakland Unified still says they strongly recommend a mask indoors, but on school member says he's happy to start the year off without all those requirements.
"I'm looking forward to us moving away from this crisis mode that we've been in for two years because of the pandemic and trying to find a new normal going forward," Mike Hutchinson said.
Hutchinson said he is aware of the new BA5 variant and hopes the district is prepared for any new surge in cases.
Vaccines are now available to all children six months and older and access to testing and vaccines is available five days a week.