Washington state superintendent wants mask mandate lifted in schools

A day after Gov. Jay Inslee announced that Washington state will lift its outdoor mask mandate on Feb. 18, the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction weighed in on when he’d like to see the mandate lifted in schools

Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal said he is recommending that the governor and the Washington State Department of Health change the mask guidance for schools.

"As part of the transition from pandemic to endemic, I believe it is safe and timely to eliminate the statewide masking requirement for students and allow for a decision by local health officials," he said.

FOX 13 Morning News talked to Reykdal Thursday about the mask mandate and he said he’d like to see it lifted in schools on March 1. 

Washington outdoor mask mandate to end Feb. 18, but what about indoors?

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday that starting late next week, elective surgeries can resume in the state and a mask mandate for large outdoor events will be lifted

"I will say this. Right now, we have a mask requirement. Folks need to follow it because that’s where the health experts are," said Reykdal.

The timeline will depend on health officials say and he also thinks it could be later than March 1. 

"Please everyone, respect that right now, cases aren’t where they’re comfortable although they’re coming down very rapidly," he said. "So wear your face coverings. Do it respectively."

Inslee said he is "on the same page" with the superintendent, but wants to see another week of data before choosing a date. He noted that removal of a statewide mandate will not prohibit local health departments from imposing their own masking mandates if they choose.

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