State updates COVID safety requirements and guidelines for schools
NOTE: Changes take effect March 12, 2022
March 8, 2022 -- The Washington State Department of Health released revisions to COVID-19 Requirements and Guidance for K-12 schools. Earlier this month, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced masks will no longer be required in schools after Friday, March 11. Federal transportation rules were also updated and masks will no longer be required on school buses after Friday, March 11.
This latest update relaxes many of the mandates schools were previously required to maintain and takes effect March 12. Physical distance requirements, regular testing of student-athletes, performing arts restrictions, and other preventative measures that were required during the height of the pandemic are no longer required per today’s changes.
“These revised requirements are welcome news and a sign that we are on a path back to more normalized operations,” said Health Services Director Amy Ruff. “We will continue to be vigilant in our practices to keep everyone safe and will always respect personal choice as it pertains to masks.”
Per the Department of Health, vaccinations are still required for staff unless they have a medical or religious exemption. Additionally, schools must continue to exclude individuals with COVID-19 symptoms and maintain isolation and quarantine practices as outlined in today’s release. The district will continue to provide access to testing for staff and students and continue to work collaboratively with the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health to report cases and outbreaks.
“I want to thank our staff, students and families for adhering to the COVID safety protocols over the past two years which has opened the door for the relaxation of these state requirements,” said Ruff. “I also want to thank our community partners for the support they have provided in helping us reach this pivotal milestone.”