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Last week, we talked about the Biden administration making 400 million N95 masks available to the American public to help protect them from the spread of Covid-19. Part of the effort is to get people masked, but also to get people in N95 masks specifically. The reason is that health officials have determined that cloth masks are no longer effective as a means of protection against the spread of the Omicron variant. Because of this, the Los Angeles Unified School District will require its students to wear “well fitting, non-cloth masks with nose wire” while employees must wear “surgical grade or higher” masks. The policy took effect yesterday and the district will provide masks for students that need them.

The Los Angeles Unified School District is prohibiting students from wearing only cloth face masks on campus as the country grapples with a continued surge of COVID-19 infections driven by the omicron variant.

The district announced updated guidance on Friday requiring students to wear “well-fitting, non-cloth masks with a nose wire” both indoors and outdoors. Employees will have to wear surgical grade masks or higher.

Students and employees will be able to get masks from the district if they need them.

“Our in-school [coronavirus infection] rates have dropped but we are continuing to be diligent and agile in creating the safest learning environment,” district spokesperson Shannon Haber told the Los Angeles Times.

The country’s second-largest school system also requires weekly COVID-19 testing of all students and employees, and they must present a negative test to come onto campus.

[From NPR]

According to the LA Times, LAUSD currently has 38,703 active Covid cases among their 400,000 students on public campuses. Of the 887 campuses, 875 have at least one active case with 733 campuses reporting more than 10 cases. However, of those, only 12 cases were school linked. So the measures the district is taking are both necessary and effective so far. My kids are no longer in LAUSD, so we don’t have this policy yet. But non-cloth, well-fitted masks are suggested in our district, so the mandate is probably on its way. I hope this helps. I’m sure it’s the same everywhere but our schools are a mess right now. Class populations are so erratic, teachers’ lessons plans have been demolished. Classes are being combined because there are so few kids or teachers available. Our district sent home Covid tests and we’re getting new Covid positive reports each night. Our schools provide PCR tests on campus every day so I always have that if my kids present any symptoms. As far as I know our district and LAUSD has no plan to return to virtual schooling. I know most of the kids want to stay on campus, but even I’m wondering if it’s a sustainable choice. The vaccinated rate is good, but nothing is fool proof.

Speaking of masks, I asked on the Biden post if my cloth mask with an inserted filter in it was okay and I think I got my answer at my mammogram last week. They would not let me in. I had to go outside and put on one of their paper masks with a nose wire because they refuse any cloth masks in the building. I’d ordered a box of N95s after that and I’m still waiting for them. Most people when I go out have already made the switch to paper masks here in town. But my husband teaches at USC and yesterday was their first day back on campus after being virtual for the start of this semester. He said very few people had masks on. I asked him to go to the local drug store to pick up a $10 box of masks to put in the back of class for students not wearing one. I get maybe not wearing the ‘right mask’ currently, if you’re waiting for supplies to replenish or something. But no mask? Thank goodness LAUSD has a better handle on their students.

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