Battle Ground Board of Directors asks that school mask requirements align with community

June 30, 2021

To: Dr. Umair A. Shah, Secretary of Health
Lacy Fehrenbach, Deputy Secretary for COVID Response
Washington Department of Health

cc: Gov. Jay Inslee

Dear Dr. Shah and Ms. Fehrenbach,

We appreciate the work that your department has done and continues to do during the pandemic to keep communities safe in the State of Washington. We are coming to you now, however, to advocate for a change to the K-12 COVID-19 Requirements for Summer 2021 and the 2021-2022 School Year. Specifically, we recommend that the school requirement to wear a face covering when indoors be updated to align with face covering requirements that are in place for the general community.

We recommend that the face covering requirements be aligned with those of the community for several reasons:

  • Eliminate a significant barrier to school attendance.
  • Reduce confusion among students and school staff about mask requirements.
  • If requirements are established in July, the school district will have time to plan before the opening of school in September.
  • Timely communication can be provided to families.

Dr. Shah has already declared that “Schools are fundamental to child and adolescent development and well-being. They provide children with academic instruction, support for developing social and emotional skills, safety, reliable nutrition and more.” Please understand that it is nearly impossible to provide needed support for all students if some choose not to attend school because mask requirements are a personal barrier.

In addition, school districts have safety protocols in place, including physical distancing and contact tracing and quarantine provisions, that have been highly effective in reducing the spread of the virus in schools.

In our community, the idea of personal choice is highly valued. If we truly care about the development and well-being of Washington’s children, then we must consider their mental health and encourage attendance by reducing barriers.

Thank you,

Battle Ground Public Schools Board of Directors

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