Kettle Falls schools closed Thursday as board considers re-instating mask mandate

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KETTLE FALLS, Wash. — The Kettle Falls School District is closed Thursday as the Washington Department of Labor and Industries investigates the district’s decision to rescind its mask mandate.

Earlier this month, the Kettle Falls School Board voted to make masks optional for students and staff, directly defying the state’s mandate and risking access to state funding.

The district drew back its decision for staff when L&I announced last week that they were launching an investigation. In response, the district began requiring staff to wear masks while still allowing students the freedom to choose.

Last Friday, L&I said pulled the district back into compliance. However, on Wednesday, L&I reached out to the district to say they were again out of compliance following a call from the Governor’s Office.

“This change put us out of compliance and creates a significant risk of fines,” the district said in a statement to 4 News Now.

The school board is set to meet Thursday at 6 p.m. to discuss the situation and consider complying with the state’s mandate.

The state has announced that it will lift its indoor mask mandate, including the directive for schools, on March 21. Until then, districts are expected to comply and require masking.

READ: Kettle Falls superintendent explains why the district is defying the mask mandate