Mandatory masking may return as a precautionary measure to some South Bay schools as Coronavirus numbers rise throughout the region. 

Superintendent Jose Espinoza of the South Bay Union School District issued a statement to South Bay Families that masks would be required for all staff and students in all settings through the end of the school year, including promotion ceremonies and other year-end events. 

“We will continue to monitor the County data through the summer, with the hope that COVID rates will decrease and we can return to optional masking for the new school year. Thank you for your ongoing support and cooperation throughout this process,” Espinoza wrote in the statement. 

Last week, the San Diego Unified School District announced it may reinstate its local indoor mask mandate. District officials said they will notify families if their school or district reaches levels requiring indoor masking for at least 14 days through the end of the school year and into its summer session. 

“While this is not the rapid surge we saw in January, it is still a concern and a trend that we expect to continue,” San Diego Unified officials said.

The announcement comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention bumped San Diego County back to a medium-risk level for COVID-19. According to the CDC, people who are at high risk for severe disease that reside in areas that are considered medium risk should consult with their health care provider about recommended precautions and procedures. 

The most recent data provided by the San Diego County’s Human Health and Services Agency reported 904 new COVID-19 infections and four deaths, bringing the region’s overall total to 790,423 infections and 5,292 deaths since the pandemic began. 

The county reported five more hospitalizations related to COVID-19, bringing the total to 179. The number of people reported in intensive care increased by two, bringing the total to 26. 

The San Diego Unified Board of Education recently approved an amendment to postpone the District’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students and align with the State to implement the mandate no sooner than July 2023.

“This means there will be no requirement for COVID-19 vaccination for any student group to participate in summer school, extracurricular programs (including athletics), or in-person instruction during the 2022-2023 school year,” the district announced. 

The Sweetwater Union High School District has not announced changes in its masking protocols. However, the district announced on May 10 that it postponed the implementation of the student vaccine mandate until July 2023. District Superintendent Moises G. Aguirre said further information on student vaccine implementation is anticipated in early 2023, 

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