End to school mask mandate cheered by Inland Empire students – San Bernardino Sun

Inland Empire students are looking forward to shedding face coverings — and so are many of their teachers — now that California officials will end the statewide mask mandate for K-12 schools next week.

“I’m happy about the change,” said Michelle Turner, whose straight-A seventh-grade daughter, in early February, joined a protest of more than 100 students against the mandate at Norco Intermediate School.

“I’m proud of the students for standing up for their rights,” Turner said Monday, Feb. 28. “I think they made an impact.”

Rancho Cucamonga resident Kristie Sepulveda-Burchit, who serves as executive director for the advocacy group Educate Advocate, welcomed the announcement. Sepulveda-Burchit said she has a teenage son who cannot wear a mask because of a disability.

“We think it’s long overdue,” she said.

Sepulveda-Burchit said the state got it backwards. She contends California officials should have lifted the requirement for K-12 students before ending California’s broader indoor mask mandate recently — instead of the other way around.

“They (students) should have been the first group to not have to wear masks instead of the last,” she said, citing the fact that, in general, youths tend to have less severe illness if infected with the coronavirus than others.

At the same time, some parents are concerned.

Rosa Loera, a parent of two students at Arroyo Valley High School in San Bernardino, disagreed with the decision and expressed concern about students and teachers when the mask mandate ends.

Loera, who works at Vermont Elementary School and for months has handed arriving students masks at the beginning of the day, told her teenagers to keep wearing face coverings inside the classroom beyond March 11, something she said her kids are fine with.

Loera believes she isn’t alone in her frustration.

“I think most parents aren’t going to be happy,” she said.

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