Inslee: ‘Students and employees will be required to wear masks’ in schools

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Governor Jay Inslee held a press conference on Wednesday to encourage Washingtonians to wear masks in places of high COVID transmission.

He said the state will follow current CDC guidance.

“I am asking Washingtonians statewide to consider wearing a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission,” the governor said in a tweet. “This is a recommendation, not a requirement.”

“We are also continuing our existing school guidance, which matches with the CDC’s masking guidance for the upcoming school year in K-12. All students and employees will be required to wear masks around each other in school buildings.”

“We will continue our safe practice of masking for students and young people, and we will ask all people to consider masking in other situations consistent with CDC recommendations,” the DOH tweeted Wednesday. “Unvaccinated people must continue to mask.”

The Washington State Department of Health released updated guidance for the 2021-2022 school year. Included in the recommendations are new quarantine rules designed to get students back into classrooms sooner. Students do not have to quarantine…

  • …if they are symptom-free and were at least three feet away from an infected student and both students were wearing masks
  • …if the student is fully vaccinated
  • …if the student had a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the past three months.

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“Everyone 12 and older is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. As of July 24, 35% of 12-15-year-olds and 44% of 16-17-year-olds in Washington state were fully vaccinated. Those who have not been vaccinated are encouraged to make an appointment as soon as possible,” stated a DOH news release.

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Inslee was joined by State Department of Health secretary Umair Shah, MD, and executive director of external affairs Nick Streuli.

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