The William S. Hart Union High School District board was informed Wednesday evening that it would not need to take a vote on recent changes to public health orders regarding masks indoors.
Being that they would not need to take a vote, starting March 12, the district — unless the board decides otherwise — will be abiding by state and local guidelines by no longer requiring masks indoors on school campuses.
The news comes on the heels of the L.A. County Public Health Department announcing earlier this week that it would be moving from requiring masking in school settings to strongly recommending indoor masking requirements at child care sites and K-12 schools beginning March 12.
“School districts may continue to require masking at schools and during school activities and are encouraged to consult with teachers, staff, parents and students as they consider the appropriate safety protections for their school community, recognizing that many individuals may want to continue additional protections,” county Public Health officials said via a tweet. “We will review any additional state guidance changes and provide an update on additional modifications to L.A. County safety measures during (Tuesday’s) Board of Supervisors meeting.”
The news also follows months of Hart district board meetings that have been punctuated by a raucous crowd of parents demanding an end to the various health protocols put into effect on campuses due to COVID-19. This group’s actions as recently as Feb. 16 caused the board to temporarily shut down a meeting and move to a virtual format less than an hour later.
Even during Wednesday night’s meeting, board members Cherise Moore and Linda Storli said they had anti-mask and health mandate protesters appear at their homes in the night. Calling it an invasion of her privacy, Moore said that women came uninvited to her home and that it was “truly unacceptable.”
“Their actions were not OK,” Storli told The Signal after her statement during the meeting, adding that they had also gone to her son’s home, as well. “Going to my son’s home was unacceptable.”
Diane Zimmerman, one of the women Moore accused of coming to her home in the night, said during the public comment section of the meeting that she was attempting to serve the board member with legal paperwork.
In addressing this latest news from the Public Health Department, Superintendent Mike Kuhlman informed the board and those watching the virtual meeting that the district would be in accordance with making masks optional in less than two weeks.
“Since the start of the pandemic, the governing board has taken no action to add additional restrictions on top of those required by the state and the county,” said Kuhlman. “The Hart district has implemented, therefore, the baseline standard that comes to us from the county.”
“On March 12, that baseline standard becomes that masks will be optional,” Kuhlman continued. “And therefore, if the board takes no additional action, the baseline standard of optional masking in schools will become the new policy.”
Kuhlman went on to add that the district would support parents and students who continue to wear masks indoors.
During the public comment section, the anti-mask parents continued to beat the drum, saying that while they were happy the mask mandate had been lifted, they would also be asking the district to oppose future health mandates that interfere with parent choice.