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Area high schools to drop indoor mask mandate 


Students and staff in the Merced Union High School District (MUHSD) will no longer be required to wear a mask indoors effective March 12.

Superintendent Alan Peterson announced this decision following today’s updated masking guidance from the state. This applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Superintendent Peterson conferred with the Merced County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) prior to making the announcement.

Earlier today, Governor Newsom and Dr. Mark Ghaly of the state health department stated that, as of March 12th, students and staff will no longer be required to wear a face covering indoors in California. They both added that the state does still strongly recommend masking at schools, but left that decision up to local jurisdictions (i.e. county health departments, school districts). 

MCDPH has confirmed they will not require masks in schools following the March 12th state deadline.

“While we are pleased with today’s announcement by Governor Newsom, we can also appreciate the feelings of those who may experience some anxiety over the new guidance,” said Superintendent Peterson. “Those who wish to continue to wear a mask may do so, and we encourage them to do so as it is still strongly recommended.”

MUHSD also encourages everyone to continue displaying COVID prevention protocols with regard to gathering in large groups, cleaning, and regular handwashing. Students and staff should also continue to remain home when sick.

As of this moment, there is no further guidance on testing. MUHSD will continue with its current system for the time being and will continue to provide updates as new guidance becomes available.

According to the official statewide release, the mandate will be lifted as a result of declining cases and transmission of COVID-19.

“This is promising news for our schools and communities across Merced County and a hopeful sign of a return to normalcy,” said Merced County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Steve Tietjen. “I will continue to work with education leaders and public health officials to ensure our schools are safe for students and staff.”

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