“With declining case rates and hospitalizations across the West, California, Oregon and Washington are moving together to update their masking guidance,” the governors said in a statement. There are more than 7.5 million school-age children across the three states, which have had some of the strictest coronavirus safety measures during the pandemic.
The new guidance will make face coverings strongly recommended rather than a requirement at most indoor places in California starting Tuesday and at schools on March 12, regardless of vaccination status. In Washington and Oregon, all the requirements will lift on March 12. In all three states, the decision of whether to follow the state guidance will now rest with school districts.
The changes reflect a growing sense that the virus is not going away and Americans need to learn to live with it. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, announced Sunday that the state’s masking requirements in schools would be lifted by March 2. New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts and others recently made similar adjustments to ease restrictions for schools.