Unmasking RUHS

Starting March 14, students and staff are no longer required to wear masks indoors.

After two years of wearing masks and socially isolating, the mask mandate in California has been lifted. Similarly, RUHS no longer requires students and faculty to wear masks, but strongly recommends it.

“I oversee our school nursing program. That means that prior to the pandemic, when there were communicable diseases, as a school district we were required to report them to the county similarly to the way we report COVID cases. Since I was the most familiar with doing that, it became natural that I would get that job, not really knowing at the time, all that it would entail,” Executive Director Jessica Silberling said.

Silberling is not only in charge of COVID protocol and the school nursing program, she is also in charge of the special education program for the district. She is not the only person who deals with COVID protocol at the district.

“There is a group of senior management that works together to digest the information, make a game plan and work with the school board to make decisions because a lot of these are also not decisions we can make,” Silberling said.

Even though Silberling and the senior management team are in charge of COVID protocols at the schools, at the end of the day they do not get the final say in what the school board does because it has to follow guidelines from the Los Angeles Department, County Public Health Institute.

“We can always be more restrictive, but we can never be less restrictive than the orders,” Silberling said.

 The Los Angeles Department, County Public Health Institute must also follow the state orders though.

“The state has to first issue the mandate, and then local health departments get together and they talk to their scientists and look at their local numbers. Then they put up their guidance,” Silberling said.

The guidance is then implemented at the different schools. The most recent guidance about masks was released recently and then went into effect at schools on March 14.

“When the Los Angeles Department, County Public Health Institute explained that they would be removing the word ‘required’ from their order and changing it to ‘strongly recommended,’ we as a district adopted that same language,” Silberling explained.

Now instead of the mask being a required object for everyone at school, it has become a personal choice based on people’s comfort.

“The science right now is that transmission is very low. The numbers in the community support that,” Silberling explained.

Now that the science reflects a lack of need for the mask, the wording was changed.

“I think creating avenues for people who need help is important as a school district, whether it’s for our employees or our students,” Silberling said.