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California school district caves after students demonstrate against masks during mass walkout

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Hundreds of students at a California school walked out of class on Tuesday afternoon in protest of their district's continued mask mandate despite statewide requirements being relaxed.

The walkout, according to reports, was in protest of the delay in lifting mask mandates at schools across California.

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) was expected to lift the mandate on Monday, but Dr. Mark Ghaly — California's Health and Human Services Secretary — said there would be a two-week delay in order to monitor case counts.

What are the details?

According to Fox News, students assembled outside Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills, California, on Tuesday and demanded the district remove its indoor mask mandate.

Later that day, the El Dorado Union High School District announced that it would be changing mask protocols and would not enforce an indoor mandate by excluding students from school.

"The enforcement of masking will be done by educating students and asking them to mask but no further actions of exclusion from class will be taken," the district said a statement obtained by the outlet. "Moving forward students will not be physically removed from the classroom or receive a discipline consequence to prevent further exclusionary learning loss."

Earlier this week, California began the process of revoking indoor mask mandates. As of Tuesday, vaccinated Californians were able to remove masks in most indoor settings save for schools and other areas that are considered high-risk for transmission.

Fox News reported that unvaccinated people "will still be required to wear masks indoors, and everyone — vaccinated or not — will have to wear masks in higher-risk settings like public transit and nursing homes."

Local governments are permitted to enforce their own indoor mask requirements.

The Washington Examiner reported that while the mask mandate is still in effect at California public schools, some schools have noted to defy state orders and make in-school masks optional.

What else is there to know about this?

Jennifer Yoder, an Oak Ridge parent, told the outlet that she and other parents sent their kids to school without masks.

"This was a homegrown thing between the parents and then the kids working together to get everyone on board," Yoder said, and noted that the children who arrived maskless were dismissed.

"It just kept growing and growing. And then they eventually just got up and left those classrooms and ran outside and started their protest," Yoder said.

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