Dear Cle Elum-Roslyn Families,
As you may have already heard, earlier this afternoon Governor Jay Inslee announced the end of the mask mandate in schools beginning on Monday, March 21st. This means that after March 21st, although masks will be encouraged, all parents will have the option to choose whether or not their children wear masks in school buildings. Masks will still be required for use on buses per a federal mandate that requires masks be worn on all forms of public transportation.
I understand that this change in how our schools are operating, will be met with differing opinions and responses. These past years have been full of emotions and, at times, division. All of us have been impacted by this pandemic differently. For some, this change will come as a relief and for others, it will result in new anxieties and concerns.
Since the onset of this long journey in March of 2020, we have asked for your patience as we have responded to the evolving guidance from our State leaders and health district officials. Today is no different. I understand that many of our families may be wondering why we have to wait until March 21st to release the mask mandate. The Governor has released this mask mandate, effective on March 21st, based on when the DOH projects the impact of the Omicron variant on our health system and hospitals is to be significantly reduced. We have been assured that as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 declines and our access to vaccines and testing becomes more and more readily available, it will become less necessary to require masks be worn in public spaces.
By law, individual school districts are not allowed to enact less restrictive policies until this mandate is released. OSPI has committed to upholding this mask mandate until the effective release date of March 21st. School districts who do not abide by this mandate will be subject to punitive actions as we saw earlier this week when OSPI placed funding sanctions on several districts for removing the mask mandate prior to the Governor’s address.
Along with your patience, we are also asking for the support and cooperation of our students, staff and families. We need to work together as a community as we safely navigate this new change. The choice of whether or not to wear a mask is a very personal decision. People have different reasons for why they decide to wear a mask or not in our schools. We need to be understanding and respectful of each other as we make this transition.
Our district will not tolerate bullying of any kind for those who choose to continue wearing 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.
- Be respectful if anyone requests that you remain physically distanced from them. We will continue to provide physical distancing to the extent possible in our classrooms.
- For young children, please let teachers know your wishes and they will do their best to reinforce them. The schools will discuss the change with students in a developmentally appropriate manner, including how to respect everyone’s personal choice and how their choice may impact quarantine.
- If your child(ren) expresses any anxiety, feel free to reach out to our school counselors for additional support as needed.
We anticipate the release of the mask mandate will also result in changes to our COVID contract tracing and quarantine protocols. As we learn more about these changes in the coming weeks, we will keep you informed.
Our best line of defense in limiting the spread of COVID-19 in our schools continues to be our own individual commitments to keep each other safe and healthy. If your kids are exhibiting symptoms, please keep them home. Do not send students to school when they are sick.
Again, we appreciate your commitment to our schools and your continued patience and support. 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 communication with you as we learn about changes to the guidance for our district.
Cle Elum-Roslyn School District