February 28, 2022
Governor Newsom Announces Relaxing Mask Mandates in Schools Starting on Monday, March 14, 2022
Today, Governor Newsom and Dr. Mark Ghaly from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced that the indoor face covering/masking order for K-12 school settings will no longer be required but strongly recommended. This will become effective in VUSD on Monday, March 14, 2022.
“After March 11, in schools and child care facilities, masks will not be required but will be strongly recommended.” - Governor Newsom
As a result of this change in the mask-wearing requirement from the CDPH, face coverings/masks will be optional for all students in all Vista Unified schools starting on Monday, March 14, 2022.
The Vista Unified Board of Trustees met on February 9, 2022 to revise Board Policy #0470 - Safe Reopening and Operation of Schools. The revision included the alignment of all COVID-19 related procedures and protocols to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) requirements. This includes the requirement for students and staff to wear masks while indoors on school campuses until Monday, March 14, 2022. From March 14th forward, all students will no longer be required to wear a mask while inside classrooms and other school buildings; however, all students have the option to continue to wear a mask indoors and outdoors. We expect all members of our school community to respect each individual student and staff choice.
We are awaiting guidance from Cal OSHA for staff related to mask wearing. Once we have this information, we will promptly notify all teachers and staff members.
Vista Unified will remain steadfast and consistent in our commitment to fulfill our dual obligation to our community. We will continue to ensure all environments are safe and secure; while, at the same time, we will provide high quality learning opportunities for all students. We intend to continue our procedures for contact tracing and quarantining, cleaning and disinfecting, refitting all classrooms to MERV 13 air filtration systems, and providing access to testing and vaccinations.
We have provided a health and safety update below on the status of the COVID-19 case rates in the district and vaccination rates locally and in our county. The good news is that case rates are dropping quickly, and the vaccination rates for our local zip code areas continue to increase. It is important to note, however, that our local vaccination rates are still trending below the county average. We will continue to monitor case rates and promote vaccinations in our community.
COVID-19 vaccination rates continue to improve across San Diego County, with larger increases over the past few weeks than predicted for the communities in Vista and Oceanside. As a county, San Diego reports an average vaccination rate of 85.4%. The Vista and Oceanside communitywide vaccination rate is approximately 76%. Many age subgroups well exceed the county average for vaccinations. High rates of vaccination in our communities help keep schools operating, businesses open, and gathering together safe.
COVID Case Rate is Declining
In Vista Unified, we have seen a tremendous decrease in the number of reported COVID-19 cases in our schools. The month of February reported 479 positive cases compared to 1,295 positive cases in January. While this data reflects a 63% decrease, it still shows a higher number of COVID-19 cases in our schools than previous months.
Over the past 30 days, daily cases varied widely from 204 to 5 in Vista Unified. The overall trend is that case rates are consistently going down districtwide. We continue to monitor and report daily cases on our District COVID-19 Case Dashboard.
Matt Doyle, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Vista Unified School District