Mead School District asks Gov. Inslee for roadmap to ‘mask-optional’ learning

MEAD, Wash.– Leaders at one Spokane-area school are asking Gov. Jay Inslee to reconsider his approach for the mask-mandate for K-12 classrooms.

The Mead School District wrote a letter to the governor and the Washington Department of Health asking for a “mask optional” learning plan. They want him to lay out what it would take for the mask mandate to be lifted.

They suggested that instead of using a blanket approach for all schools in the state it should be county-specific. In the letter, school leaders acknowledge they aren’t health experts, but go on to give examples of metrics and examples of statistics that could be used to build a county-by-county plan for school districts.

The letter outlines their concerns about students wearing face-coverings and their commitment to keeping students safe. School district leaders said their focus was on the whole child and that means helping manage their mental and emotional health during the pandemic. A “mask-optional” learning plan would put them on a path towards meeting that goal.

The letter goes on to talk about other concerns school district leaders have. That includes staffing shortages and the community’s negative reactions.

Earlier this week, parents and students protested mask mandates at the Meads school board meeting.

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The letter comes after Gov. Inslee announced another indoor mask mandate. That new mandate starts Monday. However, the requirement for all K-12 students and employees to wear masks in the classroom came earlier this summer. It was a requirement last year, and Governor Inslee is maintaining that stance this fall.

The letter from the Mead School District is signed by Board President Chad Burchard, Vice president Denny Denholm, Director Robert Olson, Director Michael Cannon and Director Carmen Green.

You can read the entire letter here.

The Mead School District’s first day of school is scheduled for September 7.

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