LA Unified Keeps Outdoor Mask Mandate

By Joyce Kuo
Joyce Kuo
Joyce Kuo
February 16, 2022Updated: February 16, 2022

LOS ANGELES—While Los Angeles County is allowing K–12 students to go mask-free outdoors beginning Feb. 16, the outdoor mask mandate will stay in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) until at least the end of this week, according to officials.

The LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, who just started his new position this week, said on Feb. 15 that he will revisit the outdoor mask mandate to see whether it should be kept next week.

“Los Angeles Unified has remained aligned with our health partners throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” his statement on Twitter reads. “I will continue to coordinate with our medical director, Dr. Smita Malhotra, and Los Angeles County officials as our positivity rates from the Omicron variant decrease.”

Los Angeles County lifted its outdoor mask mandate on Feb. 16, for outdoor mega-events and for outdoor K–12 schools and childcare centers.

However, the county’s indoor mask mandate will continue until its COVID-19 case numbers remain at “moderate” levels—below 730 a day—for two consecutive weeks, which is expected to happen by the end of March given the steadily declining case rate, according to the county’s Public Health Department Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer.

While the statewide indoor mask policy for vaccinated individuals expires on Feb. 16, the California Department of Public Health announced this week it will keep its indoor mask mandate in place for schools through at least Feb. 28.

Meanwhile, San Diego Unified School District’s students, staff, and others on school grounds can go maskless outdoors effective Feb. 16. Restrictions on field trips have also been lifted.

The school district will reconvene its panel of scientific experts from the University of California–San Diego to begin discussing what conditions would make it advisable to lift its indoor mask policy.

City News Service contributed to this report.