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Mask Mandates Not Local Decision

State informs Washington school districts mask mandates not a local decision

The Washington State School Directors’ Association and Washington Association of School Administrators sent a communication to the state's school directors and superintendents June 30 reinforcing state mask guidelines in schools is not a matter local school boards have the authority to relax.

This week’s message from the leaders of these state educational organizations was prompted following concerns from families and community members across Washington regarding the state requirement for mask use in schools during the summer and possibly the 2021-2022 school year.

“As our state continues to reopen and many of the mitigation measures are lifted, it is important to note that as of today, face covering requirements in our schools remain in place,” said the June 30 message from Tim Garchow, Executive Director of Washington State School Directors’ Association and Joel Aune. Executive Director of Washington Association of School Administrators. “As the elected officials of your school district, school directors have the authority to make policy, budget, and governance decisions that form the basis of local control within your community’s education system. However, when it comes to the requirement on face coverings, that decision falls squarely on the Washington State Department of Health and the Governor at this time.”

As of today, the Washington State Department of Health K-12 COVID-19 Requirements for Summer 2021 and the 2021-2022 School Year are as follows: “For the 2021-2022 school year, schools must plan to provide full time in-person education for all interested students with the following mandatory mitigation measures: face coverings, ventilation, cleaning and disinfecting, details of how schools will respond to cases of COVID-19, and meet the reporting requirements to public health.”

K-12 Schools Requirements 2021-2022

State COVID-19 safety requirements for schools could change prior to the 2021-2022 school year. During a recent webinar with State Superintendent Reykdal earlier this week, he shared that updated guidance from state health officials may be released by the end of July, providing masking and other safety measures for the 21-22 school year. Walla Walla Public Schools’ officials are in close communication with state educational leaders and will promptly communicate any updates or changes from the state.

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