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Will California's Ending Of School Mask Mandate Prevent Teacher Sickouts?

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — There's been a big shake up in schools across the state.

The governors of California, Oregon and Washington have all announced they will no longer require K-12 students to wear masks in school.  The guidelines are based on declining rates of infection and hospitalization.

The new guidance makes masks recommended but not required, regardless of vaccination status. But many school districts are already bucking state guidelines, voting not to enforce the mandate long before it ends.

Monday was day one for Rocklin Unified's mask-optional policy. CBS13 obtained photos of students at Rocklin High School. So many teachers called in sick, students were sent to the gym instead of attending class.

"I'd say everyone spent at least one period in the gym today," one student said.

Nevada Joint Union High was shut down for two days last week. More than 40 teachers called in sick after the board voted not to enforce masking.

But will the new policy stop protests and teacher sickouts?

The district superintendent said no.

"I don't believe this will provide any immediate relief to the level of discord inside our district," said Superintendent Brett W. McFadden.

That's partially because the new guidlines allow districts to make their own stricter policies.

We asked Sacramento City Unified about the new rules. They said they'll be communicating any potential updates after their March 3 board meeting.

The California Teachers Association told us that reaction to Monday's announcement will be mixed. The California GOP responded to the state's decision to lift masks, saying:

"California children have to wait two more weeks to finally be awarded the same freedoms that Gavin Newsom and his mask-less celebrity friends — Democrat allies and tens of thousands of Super Bowl attendees — have enjoyed already."

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