District makes masks optional indoors

LIFT MANDATE
Photo by Kate G. Bustamante

 In light of declining local case rates and hospitalizations, masks are now optional indoors at Santa Ana College. 

Even with two employees testing positive last week for COVID-19, reported cases have dropped more than half since February 2022

Starting April 18, the Rancho Santiago Community College District is moving from requiring to strongly recommending face masks, regardless of vaccination status. To attend in-person classes in spring 2023, students must have proof of vaccination.

“We’re just following what the CDC and Orange County Health Care Agency is doing,” RSCCD Chief of Communications, Letitia Clark, said about SAC’s mask mandate.  

California’s COVID-19 positivity rates have been declining over the last few months, which prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom to terminate the indoor face mask mandate for K-12 schools on Feb. 28. 

That same week, the Orange County Health Care Agency amended its county-wide face mask requirement to match the state’s recommendation. Community colleges were left to make their own decision, with SAC choosing to keep the mandate in place.

The California Department of Public Health and OCHCA reported that Orange County has seen an increase of 1.8% in COVID-19 positivity within the last 7 days, and 2.6% of Californians tested positive. RSCCD’s localized COVID-19 positive dashboard also shows a small number of cases reported on both campuses and at the district office, with four positive cases reported from SAC’s campus since March.

Health officials say that it’s up to an individual person to decide which precautionary measures to follow.

“We are in a time now where we all need to assess our own risk, as well as the risk of the people around us,” said OCHCA Director and County Health Officer Clayton Chau. “The most vulnerable members of our community still rely on us who are healthy to do what we can to help protect them.”

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