Mask mandates are set to lift tomorrow


Kailyn Holty

Although mask mandates are lifting at Woodside, it is strongly advised to continue to follow COVID-19 protocol.

Kailyn Holty, Staff Writer

As California terminates mask mandates for K-12 students beginning March 11, 2022, Woodside will most likely follow suit with this plan based on San Mateo county COVID-19 cases. 

“We know as a state, the mass mandate is in effect through Friday, then it’s going to be lifted,” Administrative Vice Principal Charles Velschow said. “After Friday for our district it’s my understanding that we’re going to go to a status that’s going to be strongly recommended [for wearing masks, not mandated].”

Since COVID-19 cases have steadily declined within San Mateo County, the district is leaning towards lifting the mask mandates. At Woodside, little transference of the virus has occurred since coming back, further supporting the plan to lift the mandates.

“The reason we’re doing this is because the numbers are supporting the fact that [COVID-19 cases are] going down fairly dramatically,” Velschow said. “[I] still would maintain that there has been little to no transference of the virus at school. Largely because we’ve been abiding by [mask mandates]. So is it keeping us healthier? I think kids and families got sick outside of environments in which they weren’t willing to wear masks.” 

Although mask mandates are lifting, Woodside is to continue to follow procedures when feeling COVID-19 symptomatic. To ensure diligent monitoring of COVID-19 symptoms and contacts, Woodside will carry on with COVID-19 testing on campus and at home.  

“I think it will still be with a strong expectation that if you’re not feeling well, then you’re going to stay home, … take advantage of the tests that have been distributed, [COVID-19] testing and so forth,” Velschow said. “I think that’s more important than ever when [you] are symptomatic… We’ve got to make sure that we’re diligent about monitoring symptoms and contacts.”

As Woodside begins this new change, the district prepares for the possibility of mask mandates to go back into effect depending on San Mateo County Health guidelines.

“This mask mandate can ebb and flow back depending upon what the case rate is,” Velschow said. “The state makes general [guidelines depending on] the CDC. At the state level, you have the California Department of Health, and that oftentimes … will put on their guidelines. Counties will look at those guidelines and make decisions based on that. So, we follow the San Mateo County Health guidelines.”

With the district beginning this transition, Woodside hopes to see a smooth adjustment to this new change. 

“Hopefully, we’re at the end of [the pandemic]. That’s my hope. That this is going to be over and we can … see faces again,” Velschow said.