A “safe and responsible path” toward phasing out pandemic-related mask requirements will be asked to the state Department of Public Health after a unanimous vote on Tuesday by the County Board of Supervisors. 

The current mask requirements are applied for school Children from Kindergarten through 12th grade. Board Chairman Nathan Fletcher made the request, saying that since the vaccine has been approved for children, the county needs to continue to plan for the next steps as safely as possible.

According to Fletcher, the vaccine has “put us in a position to begin phasing out those restrictions.”

The county on Monday reported 1,313 new COVID-19 cases and 25 additional virus-related deaths. Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to lift California’s indoor mask mandate for vaccinated individuals on Feb.15, though it remains in effect for unvaccinated people.

Just one day after Newsom’s announcement, the  San Diego County Office of Education sent a letter to their Superintendents and School Leaders informing them they will not lift the mask mandate.

According to the office of education, the indoor mask mandate “has been a cornerstone of the state’s COVID-19 strategy since the start of the school year”. 

Monday’s data, along with 4,954 additional cases recorded over the weekend, increased the county’s cumulative totals to 715,076 cases and 4,811 deaths. San Diego County health officials reported a substantial uptick in cases in December and January. 

According to recent figures, 80 percent of county residents are fully vaccinated, while the partial rate is 91. 8 percent, and 51.8 percent have received a booster vaccination. 

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