Campus mask mandate ends in April

Mandatory masks for in-person sessions will be phased out beginning April 11. Although wearing a mask will continue to be suggested, the district chancellor declared in an email on Thursday.

While the district has already relaxed its mask regulations in response to revised guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the district advocates speaking with health care providers about what is best for each individual.

“Our decision to eliminate the mask requirement and replace it with a suggestion aligns with CDC standards based on current community risk levels,” said Kathleen Burke, chancellor of South Orange County Community College District. “We believe that danger levels may grow in the months or years ahead as a result of variations or surges.”

This follows Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office’s public health notification last week on February 28.

“Beginning March 1, California will no longer compel unvaccinated persons to wear masks, but will highly suggest them for everyone in most indoor situations,” Newsom stated.

“After March 11, masks will not be necessary but will be strongly advised in schools and daycare institutions. As is customary, local jurisdictions may have additional criteria in addition to those outlined in the state advice.”

Whether to wear protective masks indoors and when to remove them is essentially a matter for the scientific community. The CDC had a significant influence on California’s response to this unforeseen pandemic. South County Community College District is continuing in this vein.

“Decisions are made by the chancellor and the executive team, which consists of the two presidents,” Letitia Clark, District Director of Public Affairs and Government Relations explained.

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“Their evaluation of everything to ensure that it adheres to science and that everyone feels secure and protected on campus.”

Clark stated that kids also play a significant part in how the district makes choices. She advised kids to contact their local legislators to hear their thoughts regarding the district’s new initiatives.

“Student government members have direct contact with the president, chancellor, and board of trustees,” Clark explained.

The Associated Student Government is Saddleback College’s student government. The ASG president attends most district meetings and is responsible for representing the student’s voice.

Indeed, the vaccine mandate was implemented through a collaborative effort among Saddleback College President Elliott Stern and the ASG office.

ASG has monthly meetings that are publicized in advance to ensure that anybody may participate. Indeed, there is a space designated for public comments.

“ASG is a publicly financed institution,” stated ASG President Sam Lockhart. “We are required to follow California laws and regulations, which includes posting our agendas 72 hours before the meeting date on our website.”

When asked early Thursday morning whether the district intended to confine the mask rule to indoor schools, Lockhart responded, “be on the lookout for a district statement.”

That afternoon, the announcement came.