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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The Sacramento City Unified School District will lift its mask mandate once students return from spring break on April 18.

The district said it will strongly recommend masks be worn by its 43,000 students but will no longer require them after Sacramento County experienced weeks of low COVID-19 transmission rates.

Despite state guidance, the SCUSD Board of Education voted in a special meeting in early March to adopt a policy that required students to wear masks until at least April 18.

California public health officials issued new guidance that went into effect March 12, lifting a statewide mask mandate for K-12 schools and child care facilities.

But SCUSD said it wanted to wait until the county fell into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 “low community level” tier and remained there for four consecutive weeks.

Per the CDC, a county needs to have a case rate of less than 10.0 per 100,000 people to enter the low transmission category if the area has fewer than 200 new cases in the past seven days. Since the school board’s meeting on March 8, the county’s case rate has remained in the single digits.

“Sacramento City Unified will continue to purchase and provide masks so that we can continue to support those who choose to continue masking,” said SCUSD Superintendent Jorge Aguilar. “Our district has supplied our students and staff with take home COVID-19 testing kits so that they can return from their spring break safely when this new policy is implemented.”

Students have been getting free at-home COVID-19 test kits since Thursday. District officials have asked families to test students on Sunday, April 17, then submit the results by Monday. Students who test positive for COVID-19 have been told to stay home.

As of Tuesday, SCUSD has reported three active cases among its students and staff. For the entire month of March, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the district was recorded at 158.