The Los Angeles Union School District (LAUSD), the second largest public school district in the country, will eliminate the face mask mandate in schools starting next week, according to the LA Times.
The statement was released after a week of negotiation with the teachers’ union—United Teachers Los Angeles—on Friday, March 18.
However, the measure is expected to be formally ratified by the unions to begin taking effect early this week.
“Union ratification processes have begun and the new policy will be implemented no later than Wednesday, March 23, 2022,” officials said.
LAUSD has been the last district to align to the policy to end the school face mask mandate mandated by the state of California in February and redirect it to “recommend its use.”
The district has more than 600,000 students and 30,000 teachers.
Included as part of the agreement with the unions was a commitment to maintain a required weekly coronavirus testing plan for all staff and students through the end of the year.
There will also be a baseline testing reassessment for all students and staff before returning from vacation, which will take place April 11-15.
They also pledged to provide KN95 or N95 masks to all employees who request them, the statement said.
“I strongly support ending the indoor mask requirement and am committed to continuing to uphold our science-based approach to COVID-19 safety and protocols,” said Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho.
“I want to personally thank our students, employees and families for their support and patience. We know some in our school communities and offices will continue to wear masks, while others may not. Please consider your situation and do what is best for you or your child. Now that this important issue is behind us, it is time to focus on each student’s full academic potential,” he added.
Critics, including many parents and educators, have said the measures have resulted in more harm than good for students. They allege, among other things, social and emotional harm from the masking.
No doubt this news is what all those in the education community who were frustrated when the state ended the mandate in enclosed places, such as bars and restaurants, exempting schools, were waiting for.