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Students Will Wear Masks Indoors While Ramona Unified Board Reviews Options For Opting Out

A student at Bostonia Elementary school part of the at Bostonia Language Academy in El Cajon wears a face covering, March 19, 2021.
Roland Lizarondo
A student at Bostonia Elementary school part of the at Bostonia Language Academy in El Cajon wears a face covering, March 19, 2021.

The Ramona Unified School District is reversing course, for now, putting on hold a recently adopted policy that would have allowed parents to opt their children out of mask-wearing despite state guidelines requiring it.

During a special board meeting Monday night, parents spoke on both sides of the issue, arguing it should be a personal choice, not a mandate.

Students Will Wear Masks Indoors While Ramona Unified Board Reviews Options For Opting Out
Listen to this story by Matt Hoffman.

In a statement to KPBS, Ramona Unified School District Superintendent Theresa Grace said the board rescinded their decision last week which allowed parents to sign a mask exemption for students and adopted a reopening plan that is consistent with state guidelines.

"Per the CDPH (California Department of Public Health) guidelines, all students and adults will be required to wear a face-covering inside school buildings when we welcome students back to school on Thursday," Grace said.

The mask-wearing requirement is in effect for students and school staff across California. Most recent guidelines say face coverings don't have to be worn outdoors, just inside when kids are present. Currently, those under 12 are not eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations.

This masking issue is not over just yet in Ramona. The school board directed Ramona Unified staff to develop a legally compliant parent exemption form during the same meeting.

"With clarification that the district board and staff work collaboratively to develop a legally solid parent opt-out form," said Dawn Perfect, Ramona Unified governing board member. "This means that at the start of school, masks will be worn, but the board's direction was clear in a desire to create an opt-out.

Dawn added she is confident a safe school environment is being created for students and staff.

Ramona School District Rescinds Policy