How Sonoma County schools are planning for the end of the statewide mask mandate

The Press Democrat contacted 18 of the largest local school districts to ask about their plans when the statewide mask mandate expires.|

How families can weigh in

Community members can offer feedback on the easing of mask requirements at the next county briefing on Facebook, planned for 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 9. A briefing in Spanish will take place the following day at 3 p.m. Community members may watch the briefing and offer comments here: https://www.facebook.com/CountyofSonoma

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last Monday the end of the statewide school mask mandate. After Friday, March 11, the requirement from the state Department of Public Health will transition into a strong recommendation.

“As always, local jurisdictions may have additional requirements beyond the state guidance,” Newsom said in his announcement, made jointly with the governors of Oregon and Washington.

Sonoma County’s health officer, Dr. Sundari Mase, has indicated she does not plan at this time to continue countywide school masking requirements for students, though she wants to keep a mask requirement for unvaccinated or unboosted staff in place. School districts could choose to keep some kind of additional masking requirement in place, as well.

The Press Democrat contacted 18 of Sonoma County’s largest school districts to ask what they plan to do when the statewide mask mandate expires.

Santa Rosa City Schools

Santa Rosa City Schools’ mandate will remain in place until a date determined by the school board, said Superintendent Anna Trunnell.

The board will meet next on Wednesday, with plans to discuss the mandate. The school district has already begun discussions with labor partners impacted by any decisions about masks.

The school district will continue to provide personal protective equipment even if masks are no longer required indoors, Trunnell said.

Petaluma City Schools

School district officials notified families Tuesday that its indoor mask requirement will lift next Monday, March 14.

Cotati-Rohnert Park

The school district informed families that masks will no longer be required starting March 14.

“We want to follow the guidance as we have done all along and it is important to begin our transition out of this pandemic. Our students and our community need to focus and return to educating our children,” said Superintendent Mayra Perez in an email.

Windsor

The Board of Trustees will discuss masking at its Thursday meeting. Superintendent Jeremy Decker said he will recommend to the board that masks become a recommendation instead of a requirement. The public will also be able to weigh in at the meeting.

Sonoma Valley

Students and staff will no longer be required to wear masks after end of day Friday. Because the district is on spring break the week of March 14, the change will take effect March 21.

Roseland

Updates to the mask mandate are determined by the district and charter board. The charter board will discuss masks at its Tuesday meeting, and the district board will meet March 16.

“Until then, we will continue to follow our current COVID protocols, including the use of masks at schools,” a district message to families said. Families are also able to give feedback via a survey.

Rincon Valley

Superintendent Tracy Smith said the district plans to align with the state guidance.

Old Adobe

Patsy Knight, president of the school board, said the board is prepared to follow county and state guidance. The district informed families Friday about the coming changes.

West Sonoma County

The Board of Trustees voted to align with state and county guidance at its March 2 meeting.

Bellevue

Administrators had not responded by deadline to requests for information.

Liberty

Liberty’s COVID plans are to align with the state and county guidance, said Superintendent Chris Rafanelli.

Cloverdale

Superintendent Betha McClain said the district plans to align with the state and county guidance.

Healdsburg

The school board will discuss masks at its regularly scheduled meeting March 16. Superintendent Chris Vanden Heuvel said changes will not be made until then.

Wright

The school board will meet Thursday, at which time the board will discuss and give direction on any updates to the district COVID safety plan, including masking, said Superintendent Adam Schaible. Students, staff and families are able to offer feedback through surveys until then.

Mark West

Board President Brian Burke said the district will align with the state and county guidance on masking.

Oak Grove

Administrators had not responded by deadline to requests for information.

Piner-Olivet

Superintendent Steve Charbonneau said Monday the district plans to align with state and county guidance.

Twin Hills

Administrators had not responded by deadline to requests for information.

You can reach Staff Writer Kaylee Tornay at 707-521-5250 or kaylee.tornay@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @ka_tornay.

Kaylee Tornay

Education, The Press Democrat

Learning is a transformative experience. Beyond that, it’s a right, under the law, for every child in this country. But we also look to local schools to do much more than teach children; they are tasked with feeding them, socializing them and offering skills in leadership and civics. My job is to help you make sense of K-12 education in Sonoma County and beyond.  

How families can weigh in

Community members can offer feedback on the easing of mask requirements at the next county briefing on Facebook, planned for 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 9. A briefing in Spanish will take place the following day at 3 p.m. Community members may watch the briefing and offer comments here: https://www.facebook.com/CountyofSonoma

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