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Alameda and Marin counties lifting school indoor masking mandates

Sirte Regiment for Scouts and Gu
Flickr / Creative Commons

Masks will be downgraded from a requirement to a strong recommendation while students are indoors in both counties and the city of Berkeley. Masks are not required for students while outdoors.

Individual school districts will still have the ability to implement their own masking requirements. Health officials in both counties said masks will remain an effective tool at reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Alameda County Public Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss said Thursday the time had some to lift the indoor mask mandate, given the decline in infection rates to pre-surge levels. He added that the virus could be around forever and that masks remain a form of protection.

Last week, Marin County, Santa Clara County and San Francisco also adopted similar policies.

A week ago, California announced it was ending its indoor mask mandate for students this Friday at midnight. It marks the first time since the beginning of the pandemic that students will be allowed to attend in-person classes without a face covering.

State officials argued that COVID cases and hospitalizations have plummeted from the record highs of the most recent surge, caused primarily by the highly contagious omicron variant.

Masks are still required under state and federal rules in health care settings, prisons, homeless shelters, long-term care facilities and on public transit.