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LA County superintendents push back on county's COVID close contact mask mandate

The state only recommends masking for close contacts.

September 7, 2022 4:02pm

Updated: September 7, 2022 5:12pm

24 Los Angeles County school superintendents signed a letter to the county requesting it relax its policy requiring those who are in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case to wear a mask around others for 10 days.

Alex Cherniss, the Superintendent of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District and author of the letter, asked the LA County Department of Public Health to change the policy to align with the state’s policy, which only recommends 10 days of masking for close contacts, reports FOX 11 Los Angeles.

"Once again, we're asking for common sense safety and security protocols so we're able to effectively run our schools. Students that are asymptomatic, and don't have COVID at all are being required to wear a mask for 10 days, and it causes problems for us," Cherniss wrote.

"We don't want to be the mask police. We think it's hard to manage and it's unnecessary so we're asking the county to align with the state."

24 of LA County’s 80 superintendents, who represent over 100,000 students, signed the letter sent to Dr. Barbara Ferrer, head of the county’s public health department.

“We have no objection to Dr. Ferrer and the Health Department making recommendations. Our issue is they have gone once again one step ahead and made a requirement that the state of California has not made so we just don't want it required for all kids," Cherniss continued.

Supporters of the stricter mask rules say it will help keep children in the class room instead of returning to remote learning.

But Suverna Mistry, a parent of two kids in the Newhall School District who is also running for the school board for the district, said she hopes Dr. Ferrer will align with the state.

"It's absolutely not just a rogue group of small, anti-masker parents. It's been an ongoing battle. The children have suffered enough. They are at the least at risk, and they have taken the most burden of the pandemic and it's time to move on," she said.