Administrators at the Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills, California quickly dropped a mask mandate after hundreds of students walked out on Tuesday. The walkout was staged in solidarity with students whose parents sent them to school without masks, who were subsequently dismissed from class.
As the Washington Examiner reported,
Several parents of students at the school sent the teenagers to school without a mask, according to Jennifer Yoder, a parent at Oak Ridge. The high schoolers who showed up without a mask were dismissed from class.
More student protests breaking out around California.
We are taking our lives back, Gavin Newsom. pic.twitter.com/4eie2eOnCd
— Kevin Dalton (@NextLAMayor) February 15, 2022
“This was a homegrown thing between the parents and then the kids working together to get everyone on board,” said Oak Ridge parent, Jennifer Yoder. “It just kept growing and growing. And then they eventually just got up and left those classrooms and ran outside and started their protest.”
Incredible image of protesting students at Oak Ridge HS! pic.twitter.com/RRSoB8P2Rm
— Reopen California Schools (@ReopenCASchools) February 15, 2022
Later that day, the school bent the knee – telling parents in a Tuesday afternoon letter from the school board that while the mask mandate was still in effect, the school would no longer punish students who refused to comply.
“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,” reads the letter. “Moving forward students will not be physically removed from the classroom or receive a discipline consequence to prevent further exclusionary learning loss.”
The staged walkout protested the delay in lifting mask mandates at schools statewide. California Gov. Gavin Newsom was expected to lift the mandate Monday, but California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said there would be a two-week delay, marking Feb. 28 as the next day to reassess the school changes.
The delay and subsequent walkout came after Newsom announced most indoor services and shops could remove the mask mandate, though stores could keep it in place if they chose. The end of the mandate is for vaccinated citizens only, with unvaccinated residents still expected to wear masks. -Washington Examiner