BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced school and childcare facility mask mandates would be lifted effective March 12, a decision that parents have been awaiting since the Governor announced relaxed indoor mask mandates around the state for vaccinated people Feb. 15.

Instead, masks in schools and childcare facilities will be “strongly recommended.”

Many of Kern County’s leaders have said this announcement has been long overdue and that the mandates should be lifted sooner than March 12.

“Why wait? This should have already happened,” said Assemblymember Vince Fong (R-Kern County) in a statement.

House minority leader Kevin McCarthy posted, “It’s time to unmask our kids immediately. Republicans are calling for a vote on the Unmask Our Kids Act, which would return students to in-person learning and free them from Democrats’ harmful, arbitrary mandates,” on social media.

Senator Shannon Grove praised parents’ and students’ efforts regarding the announcement in a tweet: “Parents and students, your advocacy is having a true impact on the Governor’s hypocritical policies. Never stop fighting for your children! I will continue to support you.”

Oregon and Washington are also lifting their school and childcare mask mandates in March.