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Governor Inslee Announces Fall COVID Safety Requirements for Public and Private Schools

Districts Must Follow Requirements or Lose Funding

Governor Inslee recently announced updated safety precautions all K-12 schools in the State of Washington must follow as they prepare for full time, in-person instruction this fall. During his press conference Inslee announced updated Washington State Department of Health (DOH) regulations that continue mask requirements for all staff, students and visitors while indoors at schools, regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings will not be required to be worn outdoors for any student, staff or guest regardless of vaccination status. The DOH report notes the indoor mask requirements may be lifted for vaccinated students and staff later in the fall, depending on viral conditions.

The Governor stated this decision to continue mask mandates is due to the impacts of the COVID-19 Delta variant and increasing case counts, especially in school-aged children. Inslee noted the masking and other safety provisions are legally required and apply to all public and private schools in Washington State. They cannot be changed, modified or relaxed by local district school boards or district officials. Further, State Superintendent Chris Reykdal stated that “boards or districts that intentionally disobey, dismiss or shun an explicit law, including a Governor’s executive order, which has the power of law, will see an immediate halt to their basic education apportionment and their federal funds that come through OSPI (the State Superintendent’s Office).”

The updated requirements relax many of the quarantining and isolation requirements for vaccinated students and staff in order to minimize time missed from class. Extra and co-curricular requirements will be published later in August according to the DOH.

Selah School District staff will be carefully reviewing all of the new updates and communicate additional details to all staff and families prior to the start of school.