SF, Marin colleges to keep indoor mask requirements for indoor settings as local mandates ease

FILE - A person holds a stack of masks. (FOX 11 Los Angeles (KTTV))

San Francisco and Marin counties partially lifted their indoor mask mandates Friday, but colleges and universities in both counties plan to keep their requirements in place for now. 

San Francisco State University President Lynn Mahoney said this month that the school plans to keep its indoor face mask requirement, regardless of vaccination status, in place while continuing to monitor guidance from the city's Department of Public Health.

While the vast majority of SFSU's students have confirmed their fully vaccination status - roughly 98 percent, according to school spokesman Kent Bravo - Mahoney argued the continuation of existing public health measures will likely remain necessary in the coming months to keep SFSU "one of the safest, healthiest university campuses in the nation."

SEE ALSO: Coronavirus in the Bay Area

"The combination of being a highly vaccinated community, the use of face coverings and testing have proven very successful," she said Oct. 7 in a letter to students and staff. "As we head into flu season and holiday travel, we will remain vigilant to ensure continued access to in-person classes and activities and to protect the health of all learning and working on campus."

City College of San Francisco, University of San Francisco and Marin County's College of Marin are also keeping similar indoor mask requirements in place for all students and staff members. 

San Francisco and Marin counties have required the use of masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, since early August, when both counties were in the throes of the Bay Area's delta COVID-19 variant surge.

Earlier this month, both counties announced that they would lift indoor mask requirements Friday in indoor settings with fewer than 100 people where everyone in attendance has proven their full vaccination status.

Qualified settings - including offices, gyms, occupational vehicles, religious gatherings and college classes - must also be closed to the general public.

"We're not ready to lift the mandate across the board, but we're in a good place to ease restrictions for select, controlled settings with a consistent group of people." Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis said Oct. 8 in a statement announcing the indoor masking exemptions. "Science shows that when an entire group is vaccinated, the risk of infection is much lower."

In both counties, the partial repeal does not apply to larger indoor settings like grocery stores, bars and restaurants.

In addition, unvaccinated residents are still required to wear a face covering indoors in any public setting.