Rory Devine

Mask or Consequences: Carlsbad Unified School District Back to School

According to a state mandate, everyone at schools must wear masks while indoors.

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School districts thinking about ignoring the state’s mask mandate for schools found out what could happen.

The California Department of Public Health sent a letter to districts outlining in no uncertain terms the consequences. "To be clear: failure to enforce the mask requirement breaches not only a legal duty, but also the first and foremost duty of every school leader, to protect students…Violation .... puts the health and safety of students, staff, and their families needlessly at risk, and also carries significant legal, financial, and other risks.”

What could happen? Schools and school leaders could face significant financial liability if a student or staff member gets COVID, worse if someone were to die. They could face civil lawsuits by concerned families compelling them to comply with the law. They could be referred to the Commission for Teacher Credentialing for disciplinary action. They could face fines or civil action by local health officials.

Students at Carlsbad High School were masked-up and ready to learn on the first day of school Tuesday. They were aware of the mandate that everyone must wear a mask indoors, and said people were following the rules.

“Most wear masks. Most are respectful, there are always a few that aren't,” said high school junior Lilly Evans. She said those who don’t wear them are asked to put them on.

In an e-mail, Carlsbad Unified School District Superintendent, Doctor Ben Churchill wrote in part: “The state has been clear since July that masks will be required...and  we have planned accordingly...I’m not aware of any individual compliance issue with the facial covering requirement today in our schools, as we welcomed back over 11 thousand students and one thousand staff."

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