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San Diego School Board President Says Students Uncomfortable With Mask Mandate Should 'Just Not Return'

San Diego Unified School District Board President Sharon Whitehurst-Payne has said that students who are uncomfortable with their newly announced return to mask mandates should “just not return” to campus.

“They really should wear the mask,” Whitehurst-Payne told Good Morning San Diego on Monday.

Whitehurst-Payne added that that students who are uncomfortable with masks should, “at that point, just not return.”

The district announced on Friday that students in summer school and enrichment programs must wear masks indoors, but have not yet officially announced a mandate for the fall semester. Instead, they stated that they will “continue to monitor the COVID-19 community level according to the CDC and County data and we will communicate if there are any changes in two weeks.”

“If your student is participating in summer school or other summer enrichment program, please send them to school or their program with a mask. If they do not have one, masks will be provided. Students and staff will be required to wear their masks while indoors only,” the school district said in a letter to parents, according to a report from KUSI.

Whitehurst-Payne said that parents who are upset about masks have “some options” including “school that’s online.”

“They can opt not to return to the regular school but to go to the school where they don’t have to go to school at all other than via Zoom,” she said.

According to a report from CBS 8, San Diego has a system in place to determine when they will require masks.

The thresholds are as follows:

  • At the school level, if a school has three or more outbreaks over a 14-day period or if it has more than 5% of students and staff test positive, the district would reinstate the mask mandate for 2 or more weeks.
  • At the district level, if the county moves into the highest risk tier, as it is now, the district reinstates the indoor mask mandate to stop the spread.

On July 18, a group of parents protested against the mandate outside the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.

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