In the past two years, students, educators, school employees, and families have remained flexible and adaptive with the many requirements and changes involved with COVID-19. Collectively, we all have had to follow and understand changing health and safety guidance, as well as the variances, common with the ongoing pandemic.
This afternoon, February 17, 2022, Governor Jay Inslee announced that effective March 21, 2022, masks will no longer be required in most indoor settings, including K-12 schools and childcare facilities. At this time, per federal law, masks will continue to be required on school buses, per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Local health districts may determine the necessity for a mask mandate to remain in place or be reinstated.
In Riverview, we will continue to work with, and follow guidance from, Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and Public Health – Seattle King County (PHSKC). DOH has indicated they are preparing updated guidance for K-12 schools. The guidance is anticipated to be released the week of March 7, which will give the Riverview Community ample time to prepare for the mask mandate to be lifted. Additional guidance around distancing, ventilation, and sanitation will change from requirements to recommendations, effective March 21. Conversations with our administrators, staff, and labor partners will occur upon the return from Mid-Winter Break.
It is important to note that the Riverview School District will continue to be required to report COVID-19 cases and outbreaks, as is the case with any other communicable disease. Schools are required to continue to provide access to testing for staff and students who have been exposed or are showing symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Students or staff who test positive for COVID-19 must remain at home and continue to follow the CDC and DOH isolation protocols.
For some, the lifting of the mask mandate is going to be great news, while causing concern for others. We will continue to follow masking guidelines and protocols in the Riverview School District until March 21. The Governor’s remarks indicated that cases and hospitalizations will likely continue to decrease over the coming weeks and by mid-March, those numbers are projected to have reduced to a level that will not overwhelm hospitals or medical personnel.
To see the Governor’s official remarks at today’s press conference, including comments made by Secretary of Health, Umair Shah, Deputy Secretary of COVID Response, Lacy Fehrenbach, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Chris Reykdal, please click the link below: