LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)—the second-largest school district in the United States—will drop its outdoor mask mandate for students and staff on Feb. 22, a top official announced.
“In alignment with the [Los Angeles] County Department of Public Health and with guidance from our medical director and health partners, outdoor masking will be optional for all individuals in Los Angeles Unified schools effective February 22, 2022,” new LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said in a Feb. 18 statement.
Since schools have a day off for President’s Day on Monday, Feb. 21, the new rules won’t take effect until the next day—though Carvalho also noted in his statement that students participating in school athletic activities on Feb. 21 may also opt to play without a mask.
This comes after LA County ended its mask mandate for outdoor mega-events and for outdoor K–12 schools and child care centers on Feb. 16.
Earlier this week, Carvalho indicated that the district would update its outdoor mask policy to align with the county’s announcement by the end of the week or early next week.
Carvalho told reporters on Feb. 16 that the district was in talks with medical experts before lifting LAUSD’s outdoor mask mandate.
“I am very confident that we will be in a position of making an announcement going into next week regarding the status of mask-wearing in outdoor settings,” Carvalho said.
This comes amid growing calls for schools to end student mask mandates.
LAUSD parent advocate Kristina Irwin told the Epoch Times she thought Carvalho should have made masks in schools optional. Irwin is also a candidate for City Council District 5.
“I think if he really wanted to do the right thing and make a great impression with the parents, he should have made masks optional,” Irwin said.
Throughout the pandemic, the LAUSD has held some of the strictest COVID-19 policies in the country—opting to maintain the outdoor mask mandate when it was at one point dropped by the county last year.