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Portrait of the superintendent, Patricia Gunderson

August 9, 2021
There have been numerous announcements at the federal and state level regarding indoor mask-wearing requirements for students and staff in schools.  The school districts within Lassen County wish to clarify the guidelines, which state “K-12 students are required to mask indoors, with exemptions per CDPH face-mask guidance” and that “adults in K-12 settings are required to mask when sharing indoor spaces with students.”  The California Emergency Services Act (ESA) provided the Governor with the power to declare a state of emergency.  During this state of emergency, the Governor has broad authority to issue orders and regulations to carry out the ESA, and these orders and regulations have the force of law.  CDPH guidance also carries the force of law and requires schools to implement all CDPH guidelines in TK-12 settings.
Due to these requirements, all Lassen County schools will be following regulations requiring universal masking indoors for students and staff in TK-12 schools to start the 2021-2022 school year.  At the same time, we will continue to advocate for CDPH to allow local educational communities to work with our local public health officials to make decisions based on local data.  We ask that parents and community members provide us, in writing, information that we may include in our communication with CDPH to strengthen our appeal to return control back to the local districts and public health officials.
As was the case throughout the 2020-21 school year, students with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask may seek an exemption from a doctor.  This includes persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a mask could obstruct breathing or who are incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a mask without assistance, and students who are hearing impaired, or communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
Lassen County students, teachers, and staff demonstrated throughout this past school year that wearing masks can be a simple mitigation strategy to support full-time, in-person instruction and keep our schools open for our students.  In addition, it could effectively reduce the frequency of required quarantine, further promoting more in-person instructional time for our students. 
If you have any additional questions or believe that your child qualifies for an exemption, please contact your school of attendance.
Patricia A. Gunderson
County Superintendent of Schools

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