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Tipsheet

Los Angeles Unified School District Will Lift Its Indoor Mask Mandate

AP Photo/Marta Lavandier, File

The Los Angeles Unified School District announced it will no longer require indoor masking for students and staff beginning next week.

The district, the second-largest in the nation, said Friday that indoor masking will only be "strongly recommended" after an agreement was reached with labor groups.

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The new policy will take effect no later than March 23, the district said in a statement. It will still need to be formally ratified by union groups before it is implemented.

"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," Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said in the statement. 

"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," he continued. "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."

The district's masking policy will now align with the guidance of the state and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also dropped its recommendation for indoor masking in areas that do not have a high level of COVID transmission, which means the overwhelming majority of communities in the U.S. will not be advised to wear masks indoors. And every state except Hawaii has ended indoor masking requirements. Hawaii's will be lifted starting March 26.

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Most California school districts dropped their mask mandates earlier this week, but the LAUSD kept its requirement in place amid negotiations with the teachers' union, United Teachers Los Angeles, ABC 7 reported.

According to the agreement between the district and the union, the district will continue weekly testing all students and staff for COVID through the end of the school year. The policy will be reviewed again in April or May.

LAUSD will also have to provide take-home COVID-19 tests to all students and staff for "baseline testing" before the start of the upcoming spring break.

Additionally, the district has agreed to provide KN95 or N95 masks to all employees who want them. 

The agreement will remain in place until the end of June. Discussions about COVID protocols for the next school year will be held at a later time.

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