Bay Area Schools Will Decide Whether or Not to Bring Back Masks

As students around the Bay head back to school, every district has an extra decision to make about whether or not to make masks mandatory in class.

Students in both the Franklin McKinley and Alum Rock school districts in San Jose will begin the year with masks, giving some parents a sense of relief.

“It’s protection for those who are immunocompromised so I guess it’s always best to have them still wear a mask just for the safety of everybody,” said parent Ursula Quejadl.

Both district superintendents say it just makes sense after a long summer break. 

“We know that staff and students and parents may be traveling and may be out and about, we also haven’t had regular testing for a while,” said Juan Cruz, Franklin McKinley Union School District superintendent. 

The Alum Rock Union School District Superintendent, Dr. Hilária Bauer, said, “We’re monitoring the contagion on a daily basis, and because of that I felt that it was just as we transition into the fall, keep monitoring and keep wearing masks.” 

At Franklin McKinley, they’ll reconsider the mask mandate in two weeks. 

But at Alum Rock, the timeline will depend on the city’s transmission rate, which currently remains high with a seven-day average of 600 cases. 

A majority of districts across the Bay Area are only recommending masks indoors with some saying they can’t legally enforce a mandate. 

But districts see it differently. 

“Public health has authorized, the state has authorized us to make those decisions locally, obviously they were not in a position to do that universally across the state,” said Cruz.

“In Alum Rock we are a very united family and we are very respectful of everybody so we look at it from the point of view of the honor system and the respect system,” said Bauer.

These districts say they’ve had conversations with parents who oppose the mandate but also say there hasn’t been too much resistance.  

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