California will not yet lift indoor mask mandate for schools

California on Monday decided to keep its indoor mask policy in place for school settings, even though the winter coronavirus wave is receding fast.

This comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week that the state health officials would outline a revised approach to school mask-wearing requirements after negotiating with school officials and teachers unions.

While the current indoor mask policy for schools will not change, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said state officials may reassess the situation on Feb. 28.

On Tuesday, most counties around the region will see an end to indoor mask wearing for most public settings, as previously announced by Newsom. However, unvaccinated individuals will still be required to wear their masks indoors.

Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration brought back the masking mandate in mid-December as the omicron variant gained momentum, and last month extended it through Feb. 15. 

State health are expected to also outline a new approach to dealing with the coronavirus that assumes it’s here to stay.

A disease reaches the endemic stage when the virus still exists in a community but becomes manageable as immunity builds.

"We’re looking back at the last two years — what worked, what didn’t, what we’ve all learned on the journey we’ve been on together," Newsom said. That includes reviewing the impact on people and businesses from California’s rules, regulations and requirements, he said.

The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020. While still considered a pandemic, health experts have been expecting the coronavirus to eventually become endemic.