Governor Jay Inslee will maintain the March 21 transition date for lifting the state mask mandate despite loosened guidance from the CDC:
Feb. 17, 2022
Dear HSD Staff and Families,
This afternoon, Governor Inslee announced that the statewide indoor mask mandate will be lifted on March 21, 2022 due to an anticipated decline in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. This announcement means that on Monday, March 21, masks will no longer be required in most indoor settings, including schools. This announcement applies to both students and staff, although we are not yet sure exactly how this will play out with respect to other job-related requirements.
I anticipate that staff and families will have concerns and questions about today’s decision - I do, too. However, school districts were not provided any additional information beyond the governor’s announcement.
The Washington State Department of Health is expected to release updated guidance for schools in the coming weeks, which will outline school health and safety requirements and may include revisions to other mitigation measures such as contact tracing. We will review these guidelines when they are released and share out a summary as soon as possible.
Many details still need to be understood and worked out before Washington schools implement changes to the current mask requirement. The School Board and I welcome a transition to a post-pandemic school environment. At the same time, the health and safety of our staff and students is a top priority and we will use the next four weeks to ensure that the transition is as safe as possible for everyone in our school communities. In the meantime, HSD schools will continue to operate under the existing statewide mask requirement. Abandoning this requirement early could result in health, safety, legal, and financial consequences for our students, staff, and school district. Board members and I are aware that some will support the Governor’s decision while others, for various reasons, will disagree with the target date and/or what it means for our schools and families.
The past two years have been challenging for all of us. So I again thank you for your understanding and patience as we work through what we all hope will be a conclusion to the COVID pandemic.
Chair, Hockinson School Board