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Mead School District asks governor to clarify specific targets for 'mask optional' learning plan

They said they are committed to keeping COVID-19 impacts to a minimum and clear metrics regarding a "mask optional" policy would support their efforts.

MEAD, Wash. — Members of the Mead School Board wrote a letter to Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee and the Washington Department of Health to request specific targets for a "mask optional" learning plan.

This comes after Inslee recommended the universal mask mandate regardless of vaccination status that will take effect Monday, Aug. 23. Inslee also expanded the state's COVID-19 vaccine mandate to all K-12 employees, in addition to employees at state colleges, and most childcare and early learning providers 

In the letter they mention that they are committed to keeping the impacts of COVID-19 to a minimum.

In the letter they wrote, "The social-emotional impact this pandemic has had is profound, and we want to give our families and staff hope that, together, we can move forward in a positive way." 

They wrote that clear metrics regarding a "mask optional" policy would support their efforts of lowering COVID-19 impacts.

"Rather than a blanket approach for the entire state, creation of a targeted, county-specific dashboard with clear metrics and goals for all stakeholders involved in K-12 education would result in a more specific approach," they wrote.

They also listed concerns about the mask mandate; which include the negative community reaction and staffing shortages that were already observed before the pandemic. 

"We understand unvaccinated rates of infection are at an all-time high, and that too can have the same (albeit mostly temporary) effect on staffing," they said.

Those who signed the letter include the board president Chad Burchard, vice president Denny Denholm, director Robert Olson, director Michael Cannon and director Carmen Green. 

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