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SAN DIEGO – Starting Monday, students and staff in the San Diego Unified School District will be required to wear a mask indoors on campus, a return to a mandate instituted for much of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a post on the district’s website, officials said masks must be worn at all schools and district offices.

“We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 community level according to the CDC and County data and we will communicate if there are any changes in two weeks,” the district said.

The CDC community level is considered high for San Diego County – which the district says they approved going back to mandatory indoor masking if they reached that level.

“As a reminder, the District established criteria approved by our Board on May 24, 2022 that, if reached, would require a return to mandatory indoor masking. This week, one of those criteria was reached, with San Diego County entering the ‘high’ COVID-19 community level.”

Sharon McKeeman, founder of the anti-mask advocacy group Let Them Breathe, argues the mandate will not be beneficial for students. Her group rallied against masks at area school districts for much of the pandemic, repeatedly calling for students to return to normalcy and pushing back on virus mitigation measures.

“Forcing masking is harmful to social and emotional academic development and these kids that are in summer school many of them are there to recoup learning loss that occurred in the two years with the school closures and the forced masking so I think it’s going to have an even more negative effect on this specific population of students,” she said.

A rally is expected to be held Monday in opposition to the district’s mask mandate at the San Diego County Registrar of Voters office.

The district says it will reevaluate the mask mandate in two weeks.