Kids And Teachers In Washington Get Good News About Mask Mandates
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and State Superintendent Chris Reykdal have announced some good news that’s sure to brighten up the week for both students and teachers as they will no longer be required to wear masks come March 21.
The announcement, made on Thursday, comes hot on the heels of one school district was closed for two days after its board voted to get rid of the mask mandate, which violated the state’s mandate concerning masks.
“This is a big moment,” Reykdal noted during a press conference. “It means we have a little bit more flexibility now to take that next step.”
Inslee said masks would not be required at schools, child care facilities, and most other businesses but that they must still be worn on school buses and public transportation.
School districts will then have the choice of whether to require masks for their students and staff.
Last week, Reykdal called on Inslee to remove the mask mandate for schools. His request came amid two school districts scrapping their mask requirements.
“On Tuesday, the Richland School Board approved “mask choice” by a 3-2 vote, causing a two-day emergency closure as the district assessed warnings from Reykdal that schools in defiance of the state mandate could risk losing their funding. In northeastern Washington, Kettle Falls School Board also voted Monday to make masks optional,” the report continued.
“Failure to follow the law and executive orders may lead to [the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction] withholding, and eventually reducing, your funding; and you may have personal liability if you willfully violate a law, safety order, or executive order,” State Superintendent Reykdal wrote.
The Richland School Board voted 4-1 to bring back the mask mandate during an emergency board meeting held on Thursday evening.
“We believe students belong in school, so we decided to keep them in person in the classroom with their teachers,” Richland School Board President Jill Oldson remarked. “In order to do that, they’ll have to wear the mask. We encourage the Richland School District community to take heart and hang on for the next few weeks as we are so close to no longer having the mask mandate come March 21.”