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Updated K-12 Requirements for Summer & Fall 2021-2022
Washington State is continuing its existing requirement for all K-12 students and employees to wear masks indoors because children under age 12 are not eligible for vaccination and the rise in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant. This requirement matches CDC guidance released on July 27, 2021.
"This is state law and not following this will mean schools are not following the law. This is a legal requirement, not up to the option of the local jurisdictions," said Governor Jay Inslee July 28, 2021.
The state’s priority is for students to safely return to in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year. The updated K-12 COVID-19 Requirements for Summer 2021 and the 2021-2022 school year indicate the following:
- Minimize transmission of COVID-19 among students and staff in K-12 schools, their families, and community by layering safety mitigation strategies.
- Maximize in-person instruction and reduce exclusions due to quarantine and keep schools open and prevent temporary closures due to large outbreaks.
- Require all students, staff, volunteers, and visitors to wear face coverings or masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, when around others. Staff who are verified to be fully vaccinated may be indoors without masks when students are not present or expected to be present. Face coverings/masks are not required outdoors, regardless of vaccination status.
- Require passengers and drivers to wear a face covering/mask on school buses. The CDC’s order requiring masks on public transportation, regardless of vaccination status, applies to school buses and transportation.
- Maintain physical distance of three feet or more between students in classroom settings to the degree possible and reasonable that allows for full-time, in-person learning for all students. A school’s ability to do so will depend on students’ ages, developmental and physical abilities, and available space.
Safety mitigation and prevention measures include face coverings/masks, physical distancing, improving ventilation, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, cleaning and disinfecting, staying home when sick and seeking evaluation, testing as indicated, contact tracing in combination with quarantine and isolation, responding to cases of COVID-19, and meeting the reporting requirements to public health. Kent School District is looking at how to ensure access to timely diagnostic testing among students with symptoms or who are close contact of someone with COVID-19. Timely testing of symptomatic students and staff helps reduce days of in-person instruction lost. Additionally, Kent School District staff will soon have access to a vaccination verification form and personal protective equipment is available for staff and students who are unable to provide their own.
Again, we are excited to see our students and welcome them to a clean and safe school environment where they have the opportunity to make their educational hopes and dreams a reality.