SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom has pulled his children out of a summer camp after photos surfaced of his son sitting without a mask with other maskless children, a spokeswoman for his office said.
The photo began circulating on social Monday and quickly drew criticism from parents who oppose the state’s requirement that children wear masks in schools. Under the state’s guidelines, children’s camps must follow the same rules as schools.
Newsom has drawn criticism this month for releasing a policy requiring kids to wear masks in schools even if they are vaccinated, an issue Republican candidates trying to replace him in an upcoming recall election have seized on.
Newsom spokeswoman Erin Mellon said the camp two of his children attended sent an email saying it would not enforce masking guidance, but that they missed it.
“The Newsoms were concerned to see unvaccinated children unmasked indoors at a camp their children began attending yesterday,” Newsom spokeswoman Erin Mellon wrote in a statement Tuesday. “The family reviewed communication from the camp and realized that an email was missed saying the camp would not enforce masking guidance. Their kids will no longer be attending this camp.”
Jonathan Zachreson, who leads the advocacy group Reopen California Schools, posted about the photos of Newsom’s son on his group’s Twitter account. The group is one of two parent advocacy groups that are suing the Newsom administration over its rules for masks in schools.
Zachreson’s group pushed for months for California schools to reopen more quickly, and is now advocating for relaxed restrictions in schools.
The group argues masks should be voluntary for students and teachers and quarantine rules should be relaxed so kids aren’t kept out of school even if they don’t have symptoms just because of a COVID-19 exposure. The group also opposes routine testing for students.
Zachreson said he thinks the incident shows Newsom is a hypocrite. He compared the situation to the French Laundry party Newsom attended last year, where Newsom was photographed gathering with other families at the Napa County restaurant without a mask, even as he told Californians they couldn’t do that.
“This clearly demonstrates that he doesn’t believe there’s a risk,” Zachreson said. “His kids get to live by a different set of rules.”
Zachreson said he doesn’t believe Newsom didn’t know that the camp allowed kids to interact without masks inside because the camp frequently posts photos of maskless children on its website and social media accounts.
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