State Republicans call on Inslee to reconsider school mask requirement


OLYMPIA, Wash. — Several Republican leaders from Eastern Washington have signed a letter urging Governor Jay Inslee to reconsider his school mask mandate.

In July, Inslee announced that all K-12 students, employees and staff will be expected to follow the rule this fall. He added that it is a legal requirement and schools that do not comply could lose state funding.

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

Twenty five state Republicans, including representatives from across Eastern Washington, signed the letter written by Representative Joe Schmick (R-Colfax).

In it, he asked Inslee to give more responsibility to local leaders and ask for parental input.

He released the following statement Tuesday:

“Local school boards, with ample input from parents, should partner with local health departments in making these types of decisions. They are able to make the best decisions based on the numbers they’re seeing in their areas while taking into account the priorities of each community.

“The one-size-fits-all mandate that we’re seeing emanating from Olympia does not fit the needs and desires of all school districts, especially those in smaller communities like Endicott and Garfield.”

“I urge the governor to reconsider his mandate requiring students, teachers, and school personnel in all school districts across the state to wear masks.”

“While my preference would be to leave masking decisions solely to parents, there should at the very least be local control when it comes to this issue,” Schmick said. “Even a change to make mask requirements dependent on certain measures (i.e. vaccination rates, hospitalizations, community spread) would make more sense than this new policy.”

Inslee has not publicly addressed the letter, but it can be read below.

Letter to Inslee Mask Mandate Schools by Erin Robinson on Scribd

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