California this week announced that it will continue to require 100% mask usage in school settings throughout the state, defying recently announced CDC guidance permitting unvaccinated teachers and students to go maskless.
California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Mark Ghaly this week called masking "a simple and effective intervention that does not interfere with offering full in-person instruction," and he suggested that the state's ongoing mask order was meant in part to ensure students who are still masked do not feel awkward at school.
"At the outset of the new year, students should be able to walk into school without worrying about whether they will feel different or singled out for being vaccinated or unvaccinated — treating all kids the same will support a calm and supportive school environment," he said.
Masking has been widely hailed as a critical measure for fighting COVID-19, though its effectiveness remains disputed, with expert opinion prior to the pandemic indicating that it does little to fight transmission of viral particles.
A 2019 World Health Organization review of mask studies, for instance, found "no evidence" that face coverings helped stop the spread of respiratory viruses.