Local parents react to California mask-wearing reversal for K-12 students


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Newly updated school guidance is causing a lot of confusion over whether students must absolutely wear masks in the classroom even if they are fully vaccinated.

The confusion started when the State Health Department released a guidance warning if a student doesn’t wear a mask they could be turned away from their classroom this fall. Just hours later they issued a reversal.

Kern County Superintendent of Schools Spokesperson Robert Meszaros said Kern County schools are in a good place as they get ready for the upcoming school year.

“We’re in a much better place this year than we were last year as we gear up for the next school year,” Meszaros said.

It’s a school year many thought would be back to normal. The return to the classrooms would look like pre-covid except students will be required to wear masks indoors.

“Schools are poised to return to normalcy – full days, five days a week of in-person instruction,” Meszaros said.

Those masks give Brittney Guinling peace of mind as her daughter gears up to start first grade.

“They’re not the best at keeping sanitary and keeping six feet apart, [so] masks play a big part in keeping them safe,” Guinling said.

For others, masks ensure their home stays healthy even if they can’t get the vaccine, like kids who are too young.

“My son has respiratory distress and I have a cancer history,” Local parent Daniel Jackson said. “I’m okay with him wearing the mask at school and him being able to interact with his friends instead of having him isolated at home.”

For now, the California Department of Public Health has left the decision on how mask-wearing will be enforced to each school district. And for these parents, they know it’s their responsibility to not only teach but to help keep others safe.

“Children only know what they are taught, so if they have parents that teach them to be intolerant or to [not follow] mandates, of course, they will be intolerant children,” Jackson said.

Brittany Guinling says “wearing a mask is a big step to hopefully keep everyone safe.”

The Kern High School District tells 17 News they are still drafting plans for their return and those details can be expected in the coming weeks. 17 News is still awaiting a response from the Bakersfield City School District on their plans.

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