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Los Angeles school district lifts outdoor mask mandate

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The Los Angeles Unified School District, the country’s second-largest school system, lifted its outdoor mask mandate for students and staff as Covid-19 cases in the country’s most populous county continued to decline.

“Outdoor masking will be optional for all individuals in Los Angeles Unified schools beginning February 22, 2022, in accordance with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and with guidance from our medical director and health partners,” the school district said in a statement posted on its website on Tuesday.

The indoor mask mandate remains in effect for the school district’s students and staff on campus, according to the Xinhua news agency.

More than 640,000 students in kindergarten through class 12 attend more than 1,000 schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. The district encompasses 710 square miles (1,839 square kilometres) and includes the city of Los Angeles, as well as all or portions of 31 smaller municipalities and several unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County.

On Wednesday, Los Angeles County relaxed its mask mandate, recommending but not requiring masking at outdoor mega events and the exterior areas of K-12 schools and childcare centres. Last week, the county, which has a population of more than 10 million people, hit a low point when it lost more than 30,000 people to Covid-19.

On Monday, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported 1,345 new cases and 21 new deaths. On January 21, the department confirmed 43,091 new cases and 65 deaths, amid a winter spike in new cases fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

With continued steep declines in case numbers indicating much lower transmission, county public health officials expected to be able to safely lift indoor mask mandates in mid-March.

About the author

Brendan Byrne

While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala.

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