Moving Forward From the Masking Mandate

Dear community member,

Today represents a major milestone for our schools, as the statewide masking mandate is set to expire at midnight. When students and staff return to school on Monday, March 14 – as well as during any school events this weekend – masking will be strongly recommended, but no longer required. 

As we have done throughout the pandemic, we continue to adhere to guidance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Santa Cruz County Public Health Department. 

We know that lifting the masking requirement may cause anxiety for some people, especially those who are at higher risk for COVID-19 or live with someone who is at higher risk. Please note that masking at schools is still strongly recommended by the state. Should circumstances allow, the state may at a later date shift its masking guidance from “strongly recommended” to “recommended” and, ultimately, to “optional.” Updated K-12 guidance from the CPDH may be reviewed in full here

The COE and all Santa Cruz County schools are fully committed to fostering supportive school environments where we respect individual choice for those who choose to continue wearing masks and those who choose not to wear masks. All community members have a right to make different choices with regard to recommended masking, and it is imperative that we respect personal choice and treat each other with respect and kindness.

For more on what this shift means for our community, please read today’s letter to families from our superintendents by clicking the button below.

Yours in education and equity,
Dr. Faris Sabbah
County Superintendent of Schools