CDC eases mask requirements as Los Angeles enters city’s yellow tier

Sandra Koretz

Fully vaccinated individuals were first permitted to be maskless outdoors except in certain settings when Los Angeles County moved to the yellow tier, the least restrictive tier in California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy plan,  on May 4, according to the CDC. Additionally, fully vaccinated people are now able to visit other fully vaccinated people indoors without masks or social distancing. Prior to May 4, members of Los Angeles County continued to abide by the restrictions held in place by the orange tier, which required residents to follow stricter mask restrictions.

With the county’s transition to the yellow tier, California has become the state with the lowest COVID-19 case rate within the country. As a result,  restaurants, gyms and movie theaters are allowed extended capacity, and fitness centers are now reopening, according to the LA Times.

Students share their thoughts on the change in guidelines.

Matteo Dall’Olmo ’22 said that while he will continue to follow local health recommendations, he is looking forward to spending time with friends who also received the vaccine.

“When I’m with friends who are also fully vaccinated, it’s nice that we can feel comfortable being outside without masks,” Dall’Olmo said. “Yet it’s still really important for the community to wear masks and pay attention to health policies.”

As of May 15, 52.7% of California citizens have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose and 37.7% of Californians are fully vaccinated, according to California for All

Claire Paul ’23, who is fully vaccinated,  said she feels safer going back to school and returning to other activities that she previously enjoyed with friends.

“Being fully vaccinated provides a sense of security in regards to returning to campus, as well as other normal activities,” Paul said. “While the pandemic certainly isn’t over, I now feel significantly more comfortable seeing teachers and peers. I go on hikes with friends too and also feel more comfortable eating outside at restaurants now.”

Faculty speaks on back-to-school experiences

In addition, Science Teacher  Steve Yang ’08  said that he has enjoyed the normal aspects of returning to school that he missed out on during virtual teaching.

“For my part, I’ve enjoyed returning to campus,” Yang said in an email interview. “There’s so much texture to the portrait of a student that gets lost when we’re online. The back-and-forth classroom banter, the small conversations that we can have before and after class. Although these interactions are technically possible online as well, it feels less organic than what normally occurs on campus. Everything online has to be done very purposefully, and there’s less room for the sort of spontaneous conversation that would normally take place as I passed by people in the quad.”