Dear WSVSD Families,
I am writing to share important information about mask requirements in our schools. Over the past two years, we have navigated the guidance from federal, state, and local authorities, and we thank you for remaining diligent in self-monitoring and in taking steps to support the health of our students and staff.
This afternoon (February 17, 2022), Governor Jay Inslee announced that the statewide indoor mask requirement for Washington state, including K–12 schools, is scheduled to end on March 21, 2022. Once the statewide requirement is lifted, masks will be encouraged in our school buildings, but not required. Masks will still be required on school buses per a federal mandate that requires masks to be worn on all forms of public transportation.
Until March 21, masks will continue to be required for all students, staff, and visitors in all White Salmon Valley School District buildings. Masks will continue to be provided for those who do not have them, and students who will not wear masks will be sent home.
Across the state, school districts have prepared for these changes over the past two years with:
A COVID-19 vaccination requirement for all school employees,
Vaccinations for individuals ages 5+ widely available,
One of the most robust school COVID-19 testing systems in the country,
Improved ventilation systems, and
A well-researched understanding of self-mitigation protocols.
Once the statewide mask requirement is lifted, masks will become optional in our school buildings. As a reminder, our district will not tolerate bullying of any kind for those who choose to continue wearing or not wear masks. Staff and students will have the choice to wear a mask at school, with the expectation that others’ choices will be respected. One should not make assumptions regarding someone’s beliefs or health status, nor should they comment on them.
We thank you for your continued flexibility as we navigate this pandemic together. We know you likely have many questions about this announcement, and we are anticipating receiving additional information from public health officials in the coming weeks. We will continue communicating with you as we learn about changes to the guidance for our district.
Dr. Sean McGeeney