By Zhihui Zou 6:20 pm PST

On June 15, Gov. Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, lifted its stay-at-home order that has been in practice for more than a year. This means each individual Californian region, such as counties and cities, may decide independentlyon future plans to counter the still-existing Covid-19 pandemic.

But shortly after the reopening, California saw an increase in Covid-19 cases. Some local governments, such as Sacramento County, and independent indoor facilities, such as malls and schools, encourage people to continue to wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status.

Schools have been acting comparatively careful toward Covid-19 ever since its worsening in 2020. Regarding the past school year, the 2020-2021 school year, California public schools have mostly required students and faculties to wear masks, but Gov. Newsom’s decision raised many criticisms. As for the 2021-2022 school year, although many schools will reopen fully, the California Department of Public Health has announced that masks will be required for all California public schools.

Like many higher education institutes across the United States, those in California, such as the University of California (UC) system, have already announced that all students, faculties, and staff must be vaccinated before returning to campus this coming fall. After revisions to their previously proposed plan, the UC system announced on July 15 their final plan for a safe fall semester. The most outstanding guideline in the final plan is that all persons related to the UC system, be that students, faculties, staff, visitors, etc., are required to show proof of vaccination before returning to campus. The UC system is not taking any chances.

However, in the realm of secondary education, even safety precautions with less intensity than vaccination are having a difficult time being practiced. For example, in many elementary schools the basic social distancing, which was once considered as a key aspect in preventing the spread of Covid-19, will no longer be recommended next school year. This decision infers that the state of California is putting reopening as a priority, saying that secondary school students’ instruction times must be accommodated. Despite not using safety guidelines as strict as those of the University of California for secondary schools, Gov. Newsom still faces immense pressure from California parents regarding policies like masks-wearing.

Due to the immense pressure as well as having lower Covid-19 cases compared to 2020, the state of California has allowed many secondary schools to make their own decisions on policies regarding the upcoming school year. With news such as Covid19’s Delta variant spreading in California, there are too many uncertainties for many schools as well as officials to make a certain decision for the 2021-2022 school year. Without a centralized state-wide authority, it is almost certain to see secondary schools following differently or even conflicting safety guidelines when schools resume in the fall.

Outside of classrooms, conflicting policies have been present before the general public. About a month after lifting most of the Covid-19 mandatory policies, Los Angeles County reintroduced the mandatory indoor mask order in response to the increase in Covid-19 cases after the state-wide reopening.

With the entire state looking forward to reopening, the incoming mandatory indoor mask order has been considered by many as a stain on the seemingly wonderful reopening and continuation of pre-Covid-19 life. We do not know where the Covid-19 pandemic will be going in the future, but surely not every California is pleased with their state’s decisions. As a California father has said after knowing his kids will need to continue to wear masks when returning to school: “Were continuing to put the burden of this pandemic on our children, and it needs to stop.”