California Parents Lose Patience over School Mask Mandate

Since California health officials decreed the end of the mask mandate for restaurants and grocery stores last week, frustrated parents have been asking: When can their kids take their masks off at school?

They didn’t get any answers during a much anticipated press conference Monday hosted by California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, who said the state would wait until Feb. 28 to potentially change masking rules at schools.

The California Teachers Association, one of the state’s largest unions with over 300,000 members, supported the decision to “pause and gather more information” before revising the mask mandate for schools.

But some parents and educators, who until recently supported strict mask rules in the classroom, are losing their patience.

“I really started thinking, why aren’t we talking about the masks coming off?” said Dr. Will Sheldon, an Oakland parent and a family medicine doctor. “There was no discussion of what the off-ramps are going to be.”

Concerns over education quality

Parents and educators interviewed by CalMatters said the social and emotional harms of long-term masking need to be weighed against what appear to be the minimal benefits of masking amid rising vaccination rates and receding case numbers.

Sheldon said his daughter has had a harder time making new friends because masks cover her facial expressions. But of greater concern, he said, are the kids he sees in his clinic who are deaf or have other language delays and rely on reading lips to learn speech and reading.

“I think they were a good idea early in the pandemic,” Sheldon said. “At this point, I’m more than ready for them to change. I think we’ve gone to an extreme.”

Meanwhile, public health experts are saying masks will play a smaller role in 2022’s pandemic playbook.

“As omicron quiets down, we’re approaching a point where we can take masks off,” said Robert Schooley, a professor of medicine at UC San Diego. “But if I had a 5- to 12- year- old who wasn’t vaccinated, I would still want them to keep the masks on until they get vaccinated. It’s not always trivial when a child gets COVID.”

High-quality, tight-fitting masks have been shown to protect against transmission, but they don’t completely eliminate the risk of getting COVID-19. And with the low risk of serious illness for kids, some parents are saying it’s time to lift the mask mandate and take a step towards normalcy.

While not all parents oppose masks in schools — CalMatters spoke to parents who thought they should embrace all measures to reduce the death count — some worry the masks are reducing their child’s enthusiasm for learning.

“I want my son to feel excited and connected,” said Patricia Johnson, an Oakland parent of a first grader. “That’s what I’ve wanted from school all along. I want him to love school.”

Jason Peplinski, the superintendent of Simi Valley Unified School District, said public health experts can’t underestimate the effect wearing masks for two years has had on kids. He hopes the mandate lifts for all students. A middle ground, he said, would be a logistical nightmare.

“What I don’t want to happen is for the governor to say if you’re vaccinated you can unmask,” Peplinski said. “That puts the onus on school districts.”

Some teachers are also calling for an end to the mask mandate.

Bevin Abbe, a vocal music teacher at Santa Susana High School in Simi Valley, said masks have been stifling her students’ creative expression for too long. She worries that more introverted students are hiding behind their masks, delaying their social development.

Abbe said debate over masking has become heated in her county of Ventura. Her district’s teachers union declined to take a position.

“Our union has chosen to respect the different views of our membership and society, at large,” said union president Amanda Hogan. “We have not taken a position on masks in the past and are unlikely to in the future.”

Public health experts endorse masks

The California Department of Public Health issued its school mask mandate last July as most of the state’s school districts were set to return to fully in-person instruction for the first time since the start of the pandemic. The mandate placed the responsibility of enforcement on local school officials.

As the omicron surge led to record case numbers among students, teachers and staff, many schools were pushed to a breaking point. But as case numbers decline, more states are starting to lift school mask mandates and taking steps towards normalcy. Lawmakers in some more conservative states are working to ban mask mandates altogether.

Simi Valley’s Peplinski and parents opposing the mask mandate say it doesn’t make sense for a vaccinated child to be able to eat at a restaurant or shop for groceries without a mask but have to put one on in the classroom. Public health experts, however, say the comparison isn’t completely valid because education is compulsory and students spend most of their time at schools.

“If you want to go to a restaurant, that’s your choice,” said Andrew Noymer, a public health professor at the University of California, Irvine. “But kids need to be in schools, and I’d like to see them protected as much as possible.”

Noymer said masks should be required at schools to eliminate the possibility of returning to virtual instruction. That said, he thinks the mandate could be lifted in the next month or so once case numbers and hospitalization rates are back down to where they were last May.

Noymer said the state could set various thresholds for case numbers, hospitalization rates and vaccination rates that would trigger an end to the mask mandate for schools. But on Monday, Ghaly provided no concrete metrics. He said the state would continue monitoring a variety of data points for the next two weeks.

Until then, some parents will remain exasperated.

“All they did was announce that they’re having another press conference in two weeks,” said Sheldon. “It felt like they were just kicking the can down the road.”

Joe Hong is a reporter with CalMatters.


  1. You have to feel most for School Children needlessly Damaged by these Health Officials that kowtow to the whims of the Corrupt Teachers Unions and Teachers.

    On Sunday, nearly 78,000 Celebrities, Elites, and the Mayor of LA (who may have been holding his breath) stood in Solidarity with children AGAINST Mask Mandates as they dumped
    their un-used N-95 “Free” masks, along with trash from the concession stands, on the stadium seating floor.

    Even the CA Teachers Association Board of Directors Member, Jesse Aguilar, doesn’t “really” believe in mask use for himself – only our kids.
    As he was repeatedly photographed, Sans Mask, at the NFC championship game with over 70k strangers
    – he is #DoneWithCovid …..
    but his Teachers Union wants kids masked.

    Don’t ever ask me to vote for a School Bond or support measure…

    —– Is a Mask That Covers the Mouth & Nose Free from Undesirable Side Effects in Everyday Use and Free of Potential Hazards? (PMC Apr 2021) ———- (long, but interesting read)

    – wearing surgical masks in healthy medical personnel leads to measurable physical effects with elevated transcutaneous CO2 values after 30 min.

    – measurements of the gas content for O2 and CO2 in the air under a mask showed a lower O2 availability even at rest than without a mask.

    – Mask Wearing results in a statistically significant increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) blood content…

    – increased rebreathing of CO2 from the enlarged dead space volume in mask wearers can reflectively trigger increased respiratory activity with increased muscular work as well as the resulting additional O2 demand and O2 consumption.

    – documented mask-induced changes in blood gases towards hypercapnia (high CO2 blood levels) and hypoxia (decreased O2 blood levels) may result in additional nonphysical effects such as confusion, decreased thinking ability and disorientation including overall impaired cognitive abilities…
    Various Masks were studied in 12 Healthy Young Subjects (ie. STUDENTS) –
    mask wearers exhibited:
    – a significant increase in heart rate
    – a decrease in O2 saturation
    – an increase in skin temperature under the mask (face)
    – difficulty of breathing

    In addition, the investigators observed
    Dizziness ,
    Listlessness ,
    Impaired Thinking ,
    and Concentration Problems ,
    which were also statistically significant when wearing masks.
    The mask-induced adverse changes are relatively minor at first glance,
    but REPEATED EXPOSURE over longer periods in accordance with the above-mentioned pathogenetic principle is relevant.

    CHILDREN are Particularly Vulnerable and may be more likely to receive inappropriate treatment or additional harm.

    It can be assumed that the potential Adverse Mask Effects described for Adults are
    all the More Valid for Children…
    – a disturbed Respiratory Physiology in Children can have Long-Term Disease-relevant Consequences.

    Slightly elevated CO2 levels are known to increase heart rate, blood pressure, headache, fatigue and concentration disorders in children.

    …. further research is particularly desirable in the Gynecological (Fetal & Embryonic) and Pediatric fields, as a Pregnant Mothers (developing fetus) and
    Children are a vulnerable group that would face the longest and, thus,
    most profound consequences of a potentially risky mask use.”


  2. Yup, time has long since passed for having quacks like Cody coming up with wild ideas about magical properties of cloth material. If it weren’t so absurd and abusive to our children, it would be funny to watch. Besides, we already have conclusive evidence and mountains of data showing us that kids don’t get sick from covid and they don’t go into hospitals for covid. Pretend time is over. The SSC board of supervisors better call those public hearings soon for Cody to defend her decisions and make sure to allow a lot of time for public comment. Otherwise, voters will be calling for the removal of the BOS’s and “county executive” from their offices. We can’t have one cognitively limited person making these decisions anymore and a bunch of do-nothing supervisors standing by watching as our children are harmed and businesses are destroyed. You might have been able to make an argument for doing stupid things out of cowardly fear 2 years ago. Not now though.

  3. “High-quality, tight-fitting masks have been shown to protect against transmission, but they don’t completely eliminate the risk of getting COVID-19.”

    That is simply not true. There have been exactly zero controlled studies of covid transmission when people are using masks in the USA period. Much less the silly, leaky cloth mask people like Quack Cody wear around. It’s simply absurd. The fact that the public put up with it for so long just shows how poorly educated we are as a society.

  4. How come school kids nationwide can attend school without masks but in California they have to? hmmm… I haven’t heard of any outbreaks in any school from the very beginning of the pandemic through today in schools that had kids wear masks and or in those that didn’t.

  5. Permanent Pandemic Panic Pushers…
    Driving someone to Fantastical Fear-Mongering…
    Boastful Bloviating…
    The Facts are in CA Hospitals as of Feb 15th:
    ICU Bed utilization for Covid ~22%
    Inpatient Bed utilization for Covid ~14%
    ICU Bed utilization (all causes) ~78%

    —— US COVID-19 Deaths Down 5.9% this week: 9 CDC findings (11Feb2022, MBean) —–

    “The nation’s 7-day avg of new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths ALL FELL this week, according to the CDC’s COVID data tracker weekly review published Feb. 11.

    1. The current 7-day death avg is Down 5.9%
    2. The nation’s 7-day case avg Decreased 42.8% as of Feb. 9
    3. The 7-day hospitalization avg Decreased 25.4% (for Feb. 2-8)
    4. As of Feb. 10th: 75.8% of the total U.S. population – have received at least 1 dose of the Covid vaccine, and 64.3% have received both doses.
    5. The CDC said ~47% of people eligible for a booster dose have gotten one
    7. The 7-day average for Covid test positivity is 12.7%, Down 6.39% from previous week.

    9. Based on projections for the week ending Feb. 5th,
    the CDC estimates the Omicron variant continues to account for 100% of U.S. Covid cases.

    Two CDC forecasts to know:

    1. Daily Covid hospital admissions are projected to FALL in ALL 50 states and Washington, D.C., over the next 4 weeks,
    with 1,000 to 11,800 new admissions likely reported March 4, according to the CDC’s ensemble forecast from 13 modeling groups.

    2. The nation’s daily Covid Case Rate is projected to FALL 51% over the next 2 weeks, according to predictive modeling from Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic.
    As of Feb. 11, the nation’s average daily Covid case rate was 61.4 per 100,000 people.
    Mayo Clinic’s modeling predicts this rate will fall to 29.9 per 100,000 by Feb. 25.

    The real Issue is Freeing the Children from Ineffective and Restrictive Masking in Schools.

  6. no one cares what a childless old man who hides his life away in his hole thinks

    read the headline, it says parents

    you know the people that sacrifice decades of their life raising the future, kids who will have to carry these childless old men on their backs as these childless men’s lifelong selfishness drains the prosperity of this great country

    their opinion is infinitely more important than some old crank who is afraid who is afraid of his own shadow that freeloads off their landlord when they could easily work

  7. Permanent Pandemic Panic Pushers…
    Driving someone to Fantastical Fear-Mongering…
    Brobdingnagian Bloviating…
    The Rational Facts are that in CA Hospitals (as of Feb 16th):
    ICU Bed Utilization for Covid is ~21% (Downward Trend Continues)
    Inpatient Bed Utilization for Covid is ~13% (Downward Trend Continues)
    ICU Bed Utilization (all causes) is ~78% (No Change)

    Testing Case Counts remain meaningless…

    —— COVID-19 Hospitalizations 1 month ago and now: How Does it Compare? (07Feb2022, GMasson) —–
    “New daily COVID-19 hospitalizations amid the omicron surge appear to have PEAKED Jan. 15,
    with recent levels declining at a similar rate they were increasing a month prior..” (Std Bell Curve).

    “Patients age 70 and older account for Nearly Half (48.5%) of all current U.S. COVID-19 Hospitalizations, according to Feb. 14 data…”

    Five things to know:

    1. New daily Covid Hospitalization rates in the U.S. have DROPPED 27%
    over the last 2 weeks, with a Daily AVG of 115,164 virus patients hospitalized.

    2. ALL STATES are seeing Hospitalization Rates TREND DOWNWARD, according to Feb. 14 data.

    3. Nationwide, ~35 Covid patients are currently admitted to hospital daily per 100,000 Americans.

    4. Covid Hospitalizations among most age groups PEAKED in JAN 2021,
    though Hospitalizations reached similar AVG Levels Jan15, 2022.
    The rate of increase for virus hospitalizations appears to be slowing now.

    5. Below are Daily Virus Hospital Admission Rates, by age group, per 100,000 people,
    as of Feb. 14, the most recent data available:
    70 years or older: 16.6 daily admissions
    60-69 years: 7.6 daily admissions
    50-59 years: 4.2 daily admissions
    30-49 years: 2.6 daily admissions
    18-29 years: 1.9 daily admissions
    18 years or under: 1.3 daily admissions

    This can be compared to daily virus hospital admission rates 1 month ago,
    on Jan. 7:
    70 years or older: 24.6 daily admissions
    60-69 years: 12.1 daily admissions
    50-59 years: 7.7 daily admissions
    30-49 years: 5.2 daily admissions
    18-29 years: 3.9 daily admissions
    18 years or under: 2.1 daily admissions
    Two CDC forecasts to know:
    1. Daily Covid Hospital Amissions are projected to FALL in ALL 50 states and Washington, D.C., over the next 4 weeks,
    with 1,000 to 11,800 new admissions likely reported March 4, according to the CDC’s ensemble forecast from 13 modeling groups.
    2. The nation’s daily Covid Case Rate is projected to FALL 51% over the next 2 weeks, according to predictive modeling from Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic.
    As of Feb. 11, the nation’s average daily Covid case rate was 61.4 per 100,000 people.
    Mayo Clinic’s modeling predicts this rate will fall to 29.9 per 100,000 by Feb. 25.
    The Real Issue is Freeing the Children from Ineffective and Harmful Masking in Schools.

  8. Peaceful Protest may be the way Forward to Free Children from the Ineffective and Harmful Masking in Schools.

    Science & Freedom for Students Wins The Day…

    — “CA High School Students Stage Mass Walkout Over District’s Mask Mandate” (Feb15, 2022) —

    “Hundreds of students at a northern CA high school walked out of class Tuesday afternoon to protest their district’s mask mandate that has been Kept In Place DESPITE Statewide Loosening of Restrictions.”

    “This was a homegrown thing between the parents and kids working together to get everyone on board,”
    …the kids who arrived maskless to class were dismissed. ”

    “It just kept growing & growing.
    And then the children eventually just Got Up and Left Those Classrooms and ran Outside and Started their PROTEST,”

    “Later Tuesday (Feb15), the El Dorado Union High School District
    sent out a letter notifying parents that it
    Would Be CHANGING its Masking Enforcement Protocols.”

    “The Enforcement of Masking will be done by educating students and Asking Them to mask
    BUT NO Further Actions of Exclusion from Class Will Be Taken,”
    the district said.
    “Moving forward students will not be physically removed from the classroom or receive a discipline consequence to prevent further exclusionary learning loss.”

    “Tuesday’s mass walkout came a day after Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) Delayed a closely watched Decision on Lifting CA’s SCHOOL MASK MANDATE,
    even as other DEM governors around the country have dropped them in recent weeks.”

    OFFICIALS Have No Clue:
    California Health & Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark “Ghaly said Monday that the state was not yet ready to make masks optional in schools
    even though COVID-19 cases in CA HAVE DROPPED by MORE THAN 75% since mid-January.

    He declined to answer repeated questions on what ROLE TEACHERS UNIONS Played in Monday’s decision.
    He also declined to say whether lifting school mask requirements would be tied to specific metrics.”

    “In a suburb of Sacramento, the Roseville Joint Union High School District school board OPENLY DEFIED the state Mandate last week with a UNANIMOUS VOTE to start a “MASK OPTIONAL” Policy.”

  9. this is an article about parents, you know the people who are raising the future?

    their opinions are the only ones that matter when it comes to their children

    dep of education, teachers union, and school boards endlessly fail and profit from these kids, the only ones who care about, are standing up for and protecting the kids are their parents

    no one cares what some old childless, genetically terminal, voluntarily unemployed, no rent paying crank with a google addiction cares or says, no matter how many times they repost the same nonsense

    no. bo. dy.

    you have wasted years cut and pasting your drivel, never a novel idea nor interesting insight just noise, threats, and argument for argument sake, calling it sophistry is far too generous

    these masks are unnecessary and dangerous to the development of the future of this country, jabs are also an unnecessary risk to the future of this country

    something freeloaders do not care about nor contribute to

    all anyone needs for evidence to agree is the fact that I am a parent and I am making that sacrifice and investing the time, money, and emotion to cultivated the future

    rents late.

  10. Permanent Pandemic Panic Pushers…
    Driving some to Highly Imaginative Fear-Mongering…
    Brobdingnagian Bloviating…
    The Clear-Headed Facts are that in CA Hospitals (as of Feb 17th):
    ICU Bed Utilization for Covid is………….. ~20% (Downward Trend Continues)
    Inpatient Bed Utilization for Covid is…… ~12% (Downward Trend Continues)
    ICU Bed Utilization (all causes) is ………..~79% (Stable)
    Percent Inpatients with Covid is …………~15%

    Testing Case Counts remain mostly meaningless…

    —- “Nearly three-quarters of Americans have some Covid immunity, experts say” (17Feb2022) —

    “Almost three-quarters of Americans are now estimated to have some level of immunity to the Omicron Covid variant …”

    Omicron wave is “leaving enough protection against the coronavirus that future surges will probably require much less – if any – dramatic disruption to society, experts reckon.”

    “Millions of individual Americans’ immune systems now recognize the virus and are primed to fight it off if they encounter Omicron, or even Another Variant.”

    “About half of eligible Americans have received booster shots, there have been nearly 80m confirmed infections overall and many more infections have never been reported.”

    The Real Issue is Freeing the Children from Ineffective and Harmful Masking in Schools

  11. The legalities of Sara Cody’s dictatorial reign are noted. It might have made sense two years ago during “15 days to stop the spread” but this mask storyline has become stale during the past two years as negative mental health issue relating to COVID-19 restrictions have become obvious.

    The County Board of Supervisors need to initiate a discussion with County legal staff regarding how to end this before society is completely damaged forever. Meanwhile, I am close enough to San Mateo County to shop there.

  12. The same liberal clown clogs the SJI comments with his woke version of reality. Everyone else is stupid. Shut up and follow the rules anything else is verboten!!

  13. Progress Continues… as Omicron is in steep decline with 73% – 80% of the U.S. population gaining exposure immunity.
    Despite the
    Permanent Pandemic Panic Pushers…
    Driving some to Continual Fear-Mongering…
    Boastful Bloviating…
    The Rational Facts are that in CA Hospitals (as of Feb 22nd):

    ICU Bed Utilization for Covid is………… 16% (Downward Trend Continues)
    Inpatient Bed Utilization for Covid is….. 10% (Downward Trend Continues)
    ICU Bed Utilization (all causes) is………. 75% (Downward Trend)
    Percent Inpatients with Covid is…………. 13% (Downward Trend Continues)

    Testing Case Counts remain of little value…

    —— 3 COVID-19 Forecasts to Know this Week (21Feb2022, MBean) —–
    After weeks of projecting rising or stable COVID-19 deaths,
    the CDC said it expects deaths to fall through early March.

    The Feb. 16 projection is based on an ensemble forecast from 26 different modeling groups.
    The forecast projects 6,300 to 13,200 new deaths likely reported in the week ending March 12,
    The projection is DOWN from 5,800 to 21,700 new deaths expected in the week ending March 5.

    The CDC said its ensemble forecasts are among the Most Reliable for COVID-19 Modeling,

    Two more forecasts to know:

    1. Daily COVID-19 Hospital Admissions are projected to FALL nationwide over the next 4 weeks,
    with 900 to 11,600 new admissions likely reported March 11,
    according to the CDC’s ensemble forecast from 14 modeling groups.

    For reference,
    the 7-day hospitalization average for Feb. 9-15 was 8,642,
    a 28.8% decrease from the previous week’s average.

    2. The nation’s Daily COVID-19 Case Rate is expected to FALL 45% over the next 2 weeks,
    according to predictive modeling from Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic.

    As of Feb. 19, the nation’s average Daily COVID-19 Case Rate was 34.6 per 100,000 people.
    Mayo Clinic’s modeling predicts this Case Rate will FALL to 18.9 per 100,000 by March 5.

    The Real Issue is Freeing the Children from Ineffective and Harmful Masking in Schools.


    Freedom Defying Oppression by Gov Newsom and Teacher Unions…

    —— “Some California School Districts are Defying Mask Mandate” (17Feb2022 Edsource) —-

    “CA ended its mask mandate for fully vaccinated people…for all but school staff & students,
    prompting Protests across the state.
    Most school districts are sending unmasked students home,
    but the number of schools that are Welcoming Them is Growing.”

    “A lot of districts throughout the state are loosening up and just trying to get through the next 2 weeks,”
    Taylor said.
    “Parents are Getting Upset and saying Everything is Maskless Except Schools.”

    “Roseville Joint Union High School District, …east of Sacramento, made wearing masks optional for all students …
    In a letter to families and staff, Superintendent John Becker said the school board, which passed a resolution to end masking requirements on Feb.10,
    cited the need to Protect Students’ Social-Emotional Health,
    as well as their physical health, as the reason for the decision.”

    Superintendent of the Nevada Joint Union High School District, says that
    schools should follow the same rules as the rest of the community,
    and he expects his school board will join neighboring jurisdictions in considering
    dropping the mask mandate.

    CA’s move to keep the school mask mandates in place follows New York City, Washington, D.C., and other Dem-led areas where officials have Lifted Requirements for Face Coverings in Most Instances
    — except for inside the classroom.

    The Real Issue is Freeing the Children from Ineffective and Harmful Masking in Schools.

  15. The parents are losing their patience and are starting to be aggressive. It is understandable. In the end, they have the right to stand for themselves; that’s what the community stands on. I will read any of those society essays written by famous authors – check there, the thought process will be the same. The aggression comes from the injustice; the schools get paid, but the education quality starts dropping because of online education. We understand that nowadays it’s a necessity, but at the same time, we have to solve the issue.

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