In a statement released to district parents on Friday, William S. Hart Union High School District Superintendent Mike Kuhlman explained that the district cannot defy the order of the state and county agencies requiring students and staff to wear masks when on campus this upcoming fall.
On Wednesday, Kuhlman had shared that until at least Nov. 1 — pending all things staying consistent — the school district has been ordered by both the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the California Department of Public Health to require masks be worn while indoors.
Kuhlman said he understood that starting classes on Aug. 10 with a universal mask mandate might be problematic for some, but he also emphasized that school athletics, activities and instruction will be fully restored and without a social distancing requirement.
“We recognize that the issue of masking is a topic of great concern for many families in our community,” said Kuhlman. “Given the strong interest in this subject, it’s important to understand who makes the rules when it comes to masking requirements.”
His letter goes on to say that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has made recommendations that masks be worn indoors by all individuals who are not fully vaccinated, and the California Department of Public Health — the more restrictive agency — has required masking for K-12 students while indoors.
Masks are optional outdoors in K-12 school settings, and adults in K-12 school settings are required to mask when sharing indoor spaces with students, according to state health guidelines.
“Local school boards and district staff do not have the authority to defy the orders of our state and county regulatory agencies,” Kuhlman said in the letter. “We recognize that there are some who are strongly opposed to the continuance of this requirement.
“We respect the fact that there are people on all sides of this issue,” Kuhlman added. “Nevertheless, we must adhere to the current masking requirements as established by state and county regulatory agencies.”
Kuhlman went on to give parents alternatives, such as enrolling their child in the district’s independent study program, Learning Post Academy. An informational meeting is scheduled to take place on July 29 for LPA and parents can register for the meeting at https://bit.ly/3xGZLyx.
An application to enroll in LPA can be found at: https://bit.ly/3in3oTE.