School districts that don’t enforce mask-wearing will lose state funding, says OSPI

Ferris High School Class
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OLYMPIA, Wash. — School districts will offer full-time learning and enforce face masks, or else they will lose state funding—that’s the message from Superintendent Chris Reykdal.

A message from the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) details the face mask requirements in all schools. The Delta variant is a major concern heading into the next school year, and given the high level of antibodies in kids age 0–17, the Department of Health says students run a high risk of contracting asymptomatic COVID-19 and spreading it rapidly.

This is especially dangerous given that many students are not eligible for a vaccine.

“Any district that does not offer a full-time, in-person learning experience for each and every family and student that seeks it will be considered in violation of basic education rights of families, and will also have their apportionment and federal funds immediately halted,” said Reykdal.

This mask order applies to all public schools, charter schools, private schools and tribal compact schools.

OSPI receives federal funding which they apportion to local school districts, and any districts or school boards that “intentionally disobey, dismiss, or shun an explicit law”—including this mask order—will immediately have their funding pulled.

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