More than 40 Eastern Washington superintendents call on state to lift mask mandate

HEALTH MINUTE: 5 WAYS TO GET YOUR CHILD TO WEAR A MASK

SPOKANE, Wash. – More than 40 superintendents from across Eastern Washington have signed a letter asking state leaders to lift the mask mandate. 

The letter was sent to Governor Jay Inslee, Health Secretary Dr. Umair Shah and State Superintendent Chris Reykdal on Tuesday. 

The superintendents are also asking the state to move contact tracing responsibilities from school districts to the Department of Health. 

READ: Richland Schools issue emergency closure for Feb. 16 following mask vote

A handful of school district boards have recently voted to make masks optional, defying the state’s mandate. Though Reykdal has expressed interest in doing the same at a state level, no action has been made, which means districts that move forward in doing so risk losing state funding. 

“It is evident that the pandemic has taken an exceptional psychological and social toll on our entire communities,” the letter said. “We are particularly concerned that the mental health of our students, their families, and our staff is such that relief from the restrictions we have strived to follow with fidelity, is needed. As other states are now lifting many pandemic restrictions, the pressure has built that we do the same.” 

Ease Restriction Letter to Gov Secy of Health and Ospi by Erin Robinson on Scribd

Governor Jay Inslee is expected to address the status of Washington’s mask mandate during a news conference on Thursday. 

READ: ‘No longer a matter of if, but when’: Inslee says health leaders discussing when to lift indoor mask mandate

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