SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- While masking requirements for K-12 schools in California will not change with the lifting of the state's mask mandate on Tuesday, state health officials said that they will reassess school masking requirements in two weeks.
California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly on Monday said that masking requirements in schools will expire as conditions improve.
"Masks are not intended to be in place perpetually," he said. "The question is when, not if."
Ghaly said that the state will reassess the data – including case rates, testing positivity, hospitalizations, and vaccination rates – on Feb. 28.
COVID-19 cases have decreased by roughly 75% from a month ago, and hospitalizations decreased by nearly 41%, according to Ghaly.
The state's testing positivity rate dropped from 22.9% one month ago to 6.2% as of Monday, Ghaly said.
When asked if the state needed to hit a certain percentage of vaccinated students to lift the school mask requirements, Ghaly said that there is no set threshold but he hopes that the number goes up.
"Right now the point is that as we anticipate changes, now is a great time to get vaccinated," he said.
The state's indoor mask mandate is set to expire on Tuesday, but Ghaly noted that while the requirement is being dropped, masks are still "strongly recommended indoors."
The lifting of the mask mandate means that fully vaccinated individuals do not have to wear masks in public indoor settings, though state health officials still strongly urge vaccinated people to remain masked indoors.
Unvaccinated individuals, however, are still required to wear masks indoors.
Everyone – regardless of vaccination status – is required to wear masks in certain settings, such as at K-12 schools, correctional facilities, shelters, and on public transportation.