OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Health has ordered schools to provide full-time, in-person education for all interested students in the coming school year. The order is accompanied by several requirements.
All students, personnel, volunteers and visitors must wear at least a cloth face mask or an alternative when indoors, and when outdoors when six feet social distancing cannot be maintained. (It’s considered like the DOH could walk back this requirement given that later in the day the state issued a directive that fully vaccinated people no longer have to wear masks.)
Schools are directed to have basic ventilation, cleaning and infection-control plans updated to reflect what is currently known about COVID-19. They must also develop response plans if there are infections at the school and should be prepared to provide instruction to students who are ill or must quarantine.
COVID-19 testing programs and vaccinations are not required, but they are encouraged to help reduce infections in schools and throughout the communities. “Schools are fundamental to child and adolescent development and wellbeing,” Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah said. “They provide children with academic instruction, support for developing social and emotional skills, safety, reliable nutrition and more.”