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Oregon joins other West Coast states in lifting mask mandates in schools on March 12

Students wearing masks work together to solve a math problem in a third-grade class at Prescott Elementary in Portland, earlier this month.
Kristyna Wentz-Graff
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Students wearing masks work together to solve a math problem in a third-grade class at Prescott Elementary in Portland, earlier this month.

The governors of Oregon, Washington and California have announced they will lift their mask mandates for schools on the same date. Masks will no longer be required after Friday, March 11.

For Oregonians, that means the date got bumped up — again.

Just last week, Gov. Kate Brown announced that March 19 would be the final day of the mask mandate for schools.

By the end of last week, however, the CDC had issued its own updated guidance, recommending universal masking in schools only in communities with a high level of COVID-19 risk.

The announcement from the West Coast governors leaves Hawaii the last state in the nation with a mask mandate for schools and no deadline for lifting it.

In Oregon, after March 11, school districts will be free to adopt their own masking policies. State agencies have said they plan to update the rules around testing and quarantine later this week.

Oregon and Washington will also lift their rule requiring masks in indoor public spaces on March 11. In California, March 1 is the last day masks are required in most indoor public spaces.

The Oregon Health Authority still recommends masking for people at higher risk from COVID-19, including unvaccinated people and immunocompromised people.

And state and federal rules still require people to mask in health care settings and on public transit.

Copyright 2022 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Amelia Templeton