2.14.22 Superintendent's Update: Keeping up with mask guidelines from State and County officials

February 14, 2022
Dear Monrovia Unified School District Family:
As you likely have heard by now, under Governor Newsom’s direction, California will end its indoor masking requirement for most settings beginning Wednesday, February 16 for vaccinated individuals; unvaccinated individuals are supposed to continue wearing masks indoors.  It is important to note however that Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer has indicated that Los Angeles County will not remove its indoor mask requirement for at least several weeks.  The county is allowed to be more restrictive with requirements than the state.
Please note however that the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) indicated this afternoon that it will continue to require masks be worn indoors in schools and school district facilities.  CDPH also indicated that it will review this requirement once again by the end of the month.  Similarly, LACDPH has also specified that it will remain aligned with the state on this.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of just a few important things:
  • The public health orders that affect our schools (e.g. mask wearing indoors, isolation, quarantine, contact tracing, etc.) are given to us by either CDPH or LACDPH.  They are not created locally by the Monrovia Unified School District.
  • We are legally obligated to follow public health orders that are given to us by either CDPH or LACDPH. We cannot simply ignore orders that we may not like or agree with without placing our district in legal jeopardy or exposing it to substantial liability.
  • Neither the Board of Education, nor I, as Superintendent have the authority to act or rescind any public health orders from CDPH or LACDPH.  Again, these are not orders created locally by our school district.
  • From the start of the pandemic, neither the Board of Education nor the Superintendent has ever implemented additional requirements that go beyond what is required by CDPH or LACDPH.  
I realize that there are strong opinions and beliefs within our community about these public health orders and related requirements for things like the wearing of masks indoors.  The images of public officials, celebrities, and fans at the football games held in Los Angeles County the last two weeks contributed to some of the very strong emotions people are feeling about this topic. As a public-school district, it is our responsibility to serve everyone, regardless of their positions with respect.
Anyone who would like to express how they feel about the public health orders that affect our students and our schools is encouraged to contact the public officials and agencies that have the greatest influence over them:
Over the coming days and weeks, I anticipate that there will indeed be changes to public health orders that affect our students and our schools in one way or another.  One such change that is highly likely to occur later this week is related to Los Angeles County’s outdoor mask requirement for students and staff at schools.  LACDPH Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer has indicated that this requirement will be lifted once hospitalizations within the county fall under 2,500 for seven straight days.  Once this occurs, wearing masks outdoors will become optional for all and recommended in crowded situations, just as it had been from the start of the school year through January.
As always, we will do our best to keep you updated as changes to the public health orders that affect our schools occur.  I encourage you to frequently visit our district’s website: www.monroviaschools.net to find the latest information.
Ryan D. Smith, Ed.D.
Monrovia Unified School District