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The West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) continues to strongly recommend that all students and staff wear a mask while at school or work, but it has come out against teachers who had been offering rewards for students who stay masked.
“Providing incentives to students to wear a mask is prohibited. Providing candy and doughnuts to students to encourage them to wear masks goes against the district’s student wellness policy, which discourages the use of candy and similar rewards for student conduct,” the San Francisco Bay Area district said.
“Moreover, providing a reward or incentive to students who wear masks could be seen as bullying and/or discriminatory behavior either by the students who ‘feel compelled’ to wear a mask as a result, or by the students who continue to decline to wear a mask,” WCCUSD added.
Forced wearing of masks in schools is a policy more associated with the left than the right.
“It’s kind of a political statement,” said Aisha Lamha, 18, a senior. “I feel like if you take off your mask, then you don’t care about COVID, and you’re Republican or something.”
Some California students were allowed to attend school without masks starting Monday in the San Francisco Bay Area, though not everyone opted to remove the face coverings.
Many of the students at Raoul Wallenberg High School in San Francisco seemingly kept their masks on indoors, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.
The teachers union wants the masks on.
Lauren Ryan, a teacher at El Cerrito High School who is on the executive board of the United Teachers of Richmond (UTR) and serves as a resource specialist, said she was upset by the district’s short notice and was disappointed that it didn’t discuss the change with the teachers’ union before its decision.
Ryan, who has a medical issue that could threaten her life, said she asked her students and their families on Sunday to keep their masks on in her classroom.
“I shared my medical information, which I don’t think I should have to do,” she said. “I just said, ‘I’m just pleading with you guys.’”
“UTR strongly encourages all of our members to continue masking,” the union said, “even if you personally have a different belief, as this shows our vulnerable and immune-compromised members that we value them and stand in solidarity. As adults, we act as role models for our students.”
WCCUSD did not respond to a request for comment.