CORONAVIRUS: Masks no longer required at Seattle Public Schools as of next week; teachers’ union ‘disappointed’ in unilateral decision

12:07 PM: The state and county indoor-mask requirements end as of this Saturday, and Seattle Public Schools just announced they’re following suit. As of next week, SPS no longer will require face coverings. From the announcement we just received:

Beginning Monday, March 14, 2022, Seattle Public Schools will shift its masking requirement from mandatory to optional.

This change applies to all SPS students, staff, volunteers, and visitors both indoors and outdoors at any SPS building. In addition, masks will also be optional on school buses.

Through March 13, 2022, the current rule requiring masking on all district property and on school buses remains in place.

The new mask-optional rule aligns with Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s updated statewide health guidance announced two weeks ago. SPS has informed its labor partners, including the Seattle Education Association, of the change.

You can read the full announcement on the SPS website.

1:30 PM: We asked neighboring Highline Public Schools (White Center and other points south of West Seattle about the status of their mask policy. A spokesperson replied that they expect an announcement tomorrow.

2:03 PM: Thanks for the tip. The Seattle Education Association has told its members the district is doing this without the union’s agreement:

You may have received notice from SPS that they are making masks optional starting Monday, March 14. SPS unilaterally implemented this change in masking policy. We are deeply disappointed that SPS has violated our collective agreement to bargain the change. This causes chaos and confusion for staff and families. Bargaining was scheduled to start Friday. More info to follow.

98 Replies to "CORONAVIRUS: Masks no longer required at Seattle Public Schools as of next week; teachers' union 'disappointed' in unilateral decision"

  • K March 9, 2022 (12:14 pm)

    Shocked, but happy!  

  • U. Crane March 9, 2022 (12:34 pm)

    Isn’t it great how we can just decide covid is over whenever we want?

    • Bronson March 10, 2022 (7:22 am)

      Or we can just decide that at this point, vaccines are widely available, masks are widely available, and treatments have been identified that all reduce the risk of serious illness and death. No one is saying it is over, but the impetus is being put back on the individual to determine their own risk tolerance, which is the proper move. Low risk tolerance, get vaxxed and wear an N95. 

    • Pessoa March 10, 2022 (9:31 am)

      To a large extent, that’s how all pandemics end.  

  • TJ March 9, 2022 (1:11 pm)

    Sweet! The return to normal is finaly almost here.

  • J West March 9, 2022 (1:18 pm)

    Makes me nervous. I don’t think I can survive much longer getting round after round of Covid. It knocks me down so hard!!

  • k March 9, 2022 (1:24 pm)

    Well, the kids should be happy.  They’ll get to spend the rest of the year watching movies or doing nonsense busy work while their teachers are out with COVID or staying home to care for kids with COVID because there are no substitutes in the district.  Sounds like the best possible educational outcomes are on the way!

    • SPSparent March 9, 2022 (5:29 pm)

      Why can’t the teachers wear n95 to protect themselves? When kids are wearing -poorly worn- cloth masks, is that even a protective measure anymore?

      • WS Res March 10, 2022 (8:31 am)

        You already know this and are being disingenuous, but: because masking is a two-way street. Each layer of masks (yours, mine) and vaccines (yours, mine) that adds protection to other layers, all of which are less than 100%.

        • SPSparent March 10, 2022 (5:31 pm)

          That was true when everyone only had access to cloth masks. There is a reason Firefighters have been wearing n95 masks when dealing with people inside their homes. When we only had access to cloth masks, everyone needed them to prevent transmissions. With omicron, cloth masks are as good as not wearing a mask. Since schools ~can’t~ dictate everyone wear n95 masks, and since there isn’t a need for everyone to wear them right now because of low rates, it really needs to be left to individuals to decide what protections they want to put upon themselves. 

        • James March 11, 2022 (3:05 pm)

          That is pure pseudoscience, WS RES. If there is a gap in the face covering, the air will pass through that gap. This is basic fluid mechanics, not even college level stuff, this is High School Physics. Please stop spreading pseudoscience about magic masks.

  • Freddie March 9, 2022 (1:25 pm)

    Shocked, but disappointed.   Just goes to show why America has the most covid-19 cases of all countries  and the most covid-19 deaths of all countries.  Way to go school board, yet another bow to political pressure.  1 more month of students masked to see how the adult population being unmasked is going would’ve been smart but hey, what can we expect.

    • heartless March 9, 2022 (1:53 pm)

      America has the most covid-19 cases of all countries  and the most covid-19 deaths of all countries.”

      I’m curious what led you to believe that, if you feel like sharing.

      • Matt P March 10, 2022 (12:19 am)

        The US has by far the most reported cases and deaths.  It’s not a belief; it’s a fact.  Other countries may have more (India probably), but you can only go by the reported numbers.

        • heartless March 10, 2022 (7:46 am)

          Yes, I was trying to find out why the original poster wasn’t going by per capita–surely a better measure.

          And you are correct that the numbers in India (and surely China) are suspect–they simply don’t have the capacity (or inclination) to reveal as many cases/deaths.

    • AD March 9, 2022 (1:56 pm)

      The US has the most total cases and deaths, but not per capita. Anyways, almost every country with similar demographics has dropped masks and never even masked kids under 12 in school. It’s a good thing that life can feel a bit more like normal starting soon. 

      • heartless March 10, 2022 (7:48 am)

        Indeed.  I was somewhat clumsily trying to ask why the poster wasn’t going by per capita; most people would view raw case/death numbers as a clumsy metric at best.

    • K March 9, 2022 (2:35 pm)

      Remember- your child doesn’t have to go maskless…you can still choose to have them wear one!  Could even go with an N95 for better protection if you’re worried.I personally think kids/people *should* be exposed to germs from time to time.  We live in a highly vaxxed population.  We took all the precautions we could for a long time.  Omicron still spread despite that high vax rate and diligent mask wearing.  Sometimes nature just finds a way, but if we keep up with our boosters and follow common sense precautions (like staying home when you’re sick), things will be alright.  Yes, there will ALWAYS be people at higher risk for any illness, but that’s always been the case. I’m not advocating for recklessness.

      • High Point March 9, 2022 (2:47 pm)

        First of all there are no masks for kids officially rated N95 by a U.S. government agency, so even if kids wanted “better protection” they would need to use a mask that wasn’t an N95. Also, anecdotally, there was very low community spread at my child’s school. Nearly 100% of COVID cases were coming in from off campus. We can’t prove a negative, but I think it’s safe to assume that masks helped. I’m not going to argue that we need to use masks forever, but as a parent I would have preferred this happening two weeks after spring break.

        • K March 9, 2022 (9:22 pm)

          In the age of omicron, cloth masks don’t do much….N95s would be most effective, but as you pointed out, they aren’t really approved for children due to sizing issues.  So again, it seems our best protections are in vaccines, ventilation, and common sense practices (staying home when sick).  Masks just make people “feel” safer, without providing much actual protection (again- in regards to omicron.  I do believe they helped much more with earlier strains). My own child has decided he’ll unmask outside at recess, but keep it on in the classroom, and I’m fine with that.  I understand that people may need time to transition.  I’m just saying, don’t bash people for unmasking if they choose to.  “Cloth masks – encouraged earlier in the pandemic – can filter large droplets, while more effective masks, such as N95s, can filter both large droplets and the smaller aerosols or particles potentially laden with airborne virus if infected people are present, Bromage said.A cloth face covering has 75% inward and outward leakage, which the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists defines as the “percentage of particles entering the facepiece” and the “percentage of particles exhaled by a source exiting the facepiece,” respectively.Properly fitted N95 respirators approved by NIOSH can filter up to 95% of particles in the air.”

      • SLM March 9, 2022 (7:04 pm)

        Well said K! Thank you! Paranoia is not the answer to the problems we face in this world. Life needs to return to normal as much as it can, in a safely manor. These decisions are based on the current scientific data. The SPS has been very conservative and have followed the DOH guidelines from day one. Anyone who disagrees with this is either not a parent, or someone who lives in a life of constant paranoia. THE KIDS NEED TO COME FIRST! Yes, even over sickly parents, teachers, etc. 

        • Thd3 March 10, 2022 (7:24 am)

          Exactly – thank you! It’s time for each person and each family to do what feels right for them moving forward without judgement and shame. We need to allow people who have taken all of the necessary steps and precautions and are ready to move forward to do exactly that. If you’re not there yet- that’s your right to do what feels 100% appropriate for you. 

    • ST March 9, 2022 (2:46 pm)

      This may be a lot of things, but a “bow to political pressure?”  In Washington?  King County?   Seattle?   Seattle Public Schools?  This has been one of the most cautious areas in the nation with regard to COVID restrictions for the last two years – and for good reason.  But, if health experts in WA (not in States like FL or TX) have different guidance now based data and lessons learned from modern science in the past two years, should we just ignore that guidance?  Anyone who wants to wear a mask or continue to eat outside should absolutely do so.  

    • Ivan Weiss March 9, 2022 (4:09 pm)

      The School Board had nothing to do with this. It was a unilateral move by the District administration, and neither the Board nor the teachers were consulted, even though the District is required by the terms of its contract with the teachers to bargain any such decision. The District has committed a pretty blatant unfair labor practice here, and it deserves all the consequences that befall it, no matter how many of you are cheering this news.

      • Alg March 10, 2022 (6:46 am)

        I don’t understand why all the sudden we don’t believe in science. We believed it when they said wear masks, get vaccinated, be outdoors, etc, stablishments believed it when they started requiring proof of vaccination “as per state mandate”. But now, they choose to ignore the science that’s telling them it’s ok to stop asking for vaccinatioon or wear masks. Unbelievable, how are people who used to say “I believe in science” now gets to say “I don’t believe in science nor trust the government and it’s decisions when it comes to covid”. Now they sound like the other half who never believed in vaccines or wearing masks.

  • ST March 9, 2022 (1:33 pm)

    Good.  I trusted health experts when they recommended remote school, hybrid school, distancing, vaccinations, universal masking in schools, etc.   I choose to trust those same health experts when they say it’s okay to take the masks off.   If teachers, staff, kids choose to continue to wear masks, they should.  

    • HappyCamper March 9, 2022 (2:18 pm)

      Agreed. Follow the science goes both ways right?

    • High Point March 9, 2022 (2:23 pm)

      I agree except that there are still humans that don’t have access to a vaccine. I think that if the youngest member of my family had access to a vaccine, today would have been a day with tears of joy.

      • Ex-Westwood Resident March 9, 2022 (3:24 pm)

        I wonder why you think that if EVERYONE had access to a vaccine the day would be filled with “tears of Joy?”

        None of the vaccines prevent a person form contracting and spreading COVID. The aim of vaccines are to PREVENT the contraction of a disease, and the spreading of that disease.

        When your children were born, why did you get them vaccinated with the MMR vaccine, among others?

        Was it to prevent them from contracting Measles, Mumps or Rubella, or hope if they did contract any of them, the effects would be minimal?

        I am FULLY vaccinated AND I am required to wear a mask at work  unless I am alone in my office. Otherwise I  MUST wear a mask when I leave it, or some one enters, yet I contracted COVID and spread it to my FULLY vaccinated family.

        • High Point March 9, 2022 (4:20 pm)

          I’m completely away that vaccinated people can get COVID. As you closed your statement you said, “yet I contracted COVID and spread it to my FULLY vaccinated family.” Many families of SPS students and staff don’t have this privilege. 

        • Sigh March 9, 2022 (10:34 pm)

          I was fully vaccinated against mumps and still contracted it, should we stop giving out the MMR vaccine too?

  • Lucy March 9, 2022 (1:34 pm)

    Hooray for the kids!

    • Anne March 9, 2022 (2:30 pm)

      How about teachers??Theres more than kids to consider here-in case everyone forgets. The teachers Union I believe expected to be part of this decision -since they are the ones in the classrooms every day all day.  

      • Mrs Myrtle March 9, 2022 (2:58 pm)

        I believe that the change still allows for teachers to choose to wear a mask and to get vaccinated; resulting in a low probability of getting infected at school or developing serious health issues. 

  • flimflam March 9, 2022 (1:36 pm)

    I don’t see this going over well with the teachers union, regardless of the science or what mandates are expiring.

    • Sam March 9, 2022 (4:08 pm)

      Sounds like the Union is “doing its own research”

  • Concerned Educator March 9, 2022 (1:46 pm)

    Wonder what the union thinks of this.   Last I heard, there was an agreement in place that the district would not do this until they bargained with the union on the matter later this week.  Sounds like the district broke their agreement by sending this announcement out before even coming to the table.  The district is acting in bad faith… Again.   

    • Japles March 10, 2022 (2:16 am)

      Not to mention there’s more than 1 union impacted by the decision— PASS, SEA, Teamsters, contracted providers… 

  • teacher March 9, 2022 (1:54 pm)

    Unfortunately SPS did not agree on this with the union as was expected. SPS pushed this out and then teachers got communication letting us know that SPS did not bargain this with the union and they went forward without collaborating with the union. So disappointed that Brent Jones and his top-down approach was hired as the permanent superintendent.

    • teacher March 9, 2022 (7:31 pm)

      By the way, I am okay with getting rid of masks since the science supports it, I am just really disappointed in the superintendent and his higher admin echelon doing another “my way/no collaboration with the frontline teachers” decision. 

  • Genesse Parent March 9, 2022 (1:56 pm)

    My kids and family are so excited!! Wahoo!! 

  • JJ March 9, 2022 (1:57 pm)

    Surprised masks are optional on school buses.

    • EHinWS March 9, 2022 (2:12 pm)

      What’s the difference between sitting in your classroom and sitting in a bus unmasked?

      • High Point March 9, 2022 (2:53 pm)

        Air filtration and a different pool of students to be exposed to. There’s probably more, but those are two differences that come to mind

    • Anne March 9, 2022 (2:31 pm)

      Don’t understand that either since masks aren’t optional on other transit. 

    • japles March 10, 2022 (2:31 am)

      Good question. I wonder what the Teamsters and other contracted providers thinkof this and I wonder how they feel considering masks must be worn on public transit? Or if PASS members feel ready to lead this in their building and whether this news disrupted learning today or next year building budget decisions. I do not understand why the intent wasn’t more clearly communicated, EXPLICITLY. To me it’s not about the masks. It’s about the utter lack of engagement and communication. AND nothing against Brent Jones,  because we see this in the school board’s superintendent hiring process as well. 

  • rb March 9, 2022 (2:25 pm)

    For once, a victory for the kids. I hope hte union can accept 

  • Jtm March 9, 2022 (2:33 pm)

    So enjoy that this was a unilateral decision. Hooray SPS!

  • shawn March 9, 2022 (2:37 pm)

    Did we learn nothing from Delta? From Omicron?  Or even from the Spanish Flu, where this tragedy played out almost exactly the same as today?  It is clearly far too early to be tossing out the easiest, most effective defense after vaccination for… absolutely no reason. There’s no clear benefit to ending masking in the middle of a raging pandemic, except political. Stop this madness. People are going to die because of whiny people who can’t put a simple piece of clothing on.

    • Sam March 9, 2022 (4:09 pm)

      If there’s no benefit to not masking, why wasn’t everyone wearing masks before Covid?

      • Shawn March 10, 2022 (7:16 am)

        Because before the pandemic there wasn’t a pandemic.

    • Molly March 9, 2022 (5:39 pm)

      Literally no one is saying we should never mask again. The DOH and CDC are saying the rates are low enough currently that we should be able to have a small break in masking. All of the health governing bodies say that they expect we will have to mask up again in the fall. Why can’t we enjoy a break as one of the *most* vaccinated cities with some of the *lowest rates* of transmission?

      • shawn March 10, 2022 (7:14 am)

        I’m not sure where you are getting your info from, but check king county on Covid Act Now… Very High Risk, cases are still over 10 per 100k (currently 13),deaths and hospitalization is still very high. Dropping quickly yes, and I hope it keeps dropping and stays down. but far too high to take a “break”. The virus doesn’t care if we are tired of masks. Maybe in late April if things keep going well they could consider dropping distancing and WFH. By July maybe masks. Not now.

  • vee March 9, 2022 (2:47 pm)

    This is great especially for outside in warmer weather, can breathe freash air which is healthier, these  kids are already around each other outside of school without masks  and vaccine rate is high, people can always choose to wear one  but neither side should intimidate  the other with their choice

  • good to hear March 9, 2022 (2:52 pm)

    I am happy to hear this, and I don’t see how it would cause chaos and confusion.   Dictionary says chaos is “complete disorder and confusion”.  I just can’t imagine people are so fragile it would cause that level of difficulty.  Maybe a little confusion?  But even so, how hard is it to understand?  I just don’t think people are really that stupid?  Anyway.  Hopefully everyone will figure out how to be respectful of each other’s choices, for those who choose to continue to wear masks and those who don’t.  I will never understand how human beings can be so nasty when some people make different choices then others (assuming both choices are legal, etc..)  :)  Human nature never changes I suppose!  

    • japles March 10, 2022 (2:32 am)

      Hmm. 1.) I’d say we already exist in this state and chaos sounds pretty accurate. And no, I’m not fragile—life hasn’t presented the level of privilege that allows the type of “fragility” that you presume in this statement. And 2.) This seems like a poor decision given the significant staffing shortage the district is facing as well as it being a collective bargaining year. It’s time to build trust. I predict high turnover, future vacancies, and tense/tumultuous bargaining not just for an MOU, but for next CBA. 3.) Forecast: chaos, confusion, conflict, complete dis-order

    • Japles March 10, 2022 (5:51 pm)

      Hmm. 1.) I’d say we already exist in this state and chaos sounds pretty accurate. And no, I’m not fragile—life hasn’t presented the level of privilege that allows the type of “fragility” that you presume in this statement. And 2.) This seems like a poor decision given the significant staffing shortage the district is facing as well as it being a collective bargaining year. It’s time to build trust. I predict high turnover, future vacancies, and tense/tumultuous bargaining not just for an MOU, but for next CBA. 3.) Forecast: chaos, confusion, conflict 

  • Seattlite March 9, 2022 (2:59 pm)

    I am thrilled that students will be allowed to breathe, see each others’ faces, expressions, laughing/giggling sounds and expressions, interact and connect with faces!  

  • BD March 9, 2022 (3:14 pm)

    I know for a fact that other kids in my child’s class will not be respectful of our decision to still have our child wear a mask indoors. There will be peer pressure and bullying.

    • Sam March 9, 2022 (4:10 pm)

      Bullying should be dealt with whatever the issue. 

      • BD March 9, 2022 (8:03 pm)

        I wish it was! 

  • Wondering Parent March 9, 2022 (3:24 pm)

    WSB; Any word on what the policy is at South Seattle College? Will they also drop the mask mandate?

    • WSB March 9, 2022 (3:53 pm)

      SSC says it’s requiring masks at least until April 1st, and that discussions are under way now about what happens after that.

  • Rara March 9, 2022 (3:52 pm)

    This is great news! My friend is a teacher and the whole staff is so over it. 

  • WS resident March 9, 2022 (4:12 pm)

    Woohoo!  As a teacher and SPS parent I’m surprised but happy with this decision.  I can’t wait to see my students faces and expressions again!  I spoke with my class and discussed that some people will continue to wear masks and some people will not and everyone needs to respect each families decision what is best for their child.  I told my own children the same thing.

    • yes March 9, 2022 (6:28 pm)

      I wish the comments on WSB had the ability to like comments. This is one I would like, heart, thumbs up. Appreciate your perspective. 

  • Still masking for a friend March 9, 2022 (5:21 pm)

    Really hoping this reduction in mask requirements goes well for all. No judgement for those who choose not to wear one, when not required. Please, let’s respect one another’s choices at this juncture.

    Also, yay for masks being on sale!

  • Mj March 9, 2022 (5:33 pm)

    This is great news!  All students, they are age 5 and older, and staff have had ample time to get vaccinated.  Time to move forward.

    • japles March 10, 2022 (2:41 am)

      Guaranteed that not all staff have had the opportunity or felt the urgency to get their booster. Given the change in conditions starting Monday, providing an opportunity for this would demonstrate a “culture of care” to our school communities and our educators  aligned with SPS ‘s commitment to “180 days of excellence”

  • waikikigirl March 9, 2022 (7:52 pm)

    This is just something to think about. I have a in the same office co-worker who is in her mid 30’s living in a multi-generational  household where grade school age children come over everyday  to be babysat this co worker has never gotten the vaccine until just recently (Jan.) she has chosen to not get the 2nd or the booster (why’d she get the 1st???) and she rides Metro every day…is she just very lucky to not have  caught Covid or???   No one else in her family has gotten the vaccine either.  She wears a mask on the bus of course and work mandates the mask to be worn on premise and every where else where kit is mandated so again is she just very lucky? FYI…I’m 66, vaccinated and booster and retired now :>)

  • sam March 9, 2022 (8:34 pm)

    Follow the science as long as it supports your claims or beliefs but if it does not then it is ok to make your own science. How many health experts in the teachers’ union?

  • Bubble March 9, 2022 (8:35 pm)

    I am so relieved that this was the decision. Science based policy decisions require guidelines such as “following CDC recommendations “ to be adhered to consistently. The alternative is “feelings based policy,” which doesn’t promote safety and has no rational basis. In the latter, we end of up having policy that’s truly ideologically based and folks either approve or disapprove based on their political allegiance. It’s funny that some comments above cite this decision as “political” when in reality it would be the alternative (to ignore CDC recommendations and continue with masks) that would be politically motivated. Anyhow, hoping this goes smoothly! 

  • Parent March 9, 2022 (8:38 pm)

    I am so, so happy for our kids, who have borne the brunt of this pandemic for such a large chunk of their lives, and who every step of the way have been the last to be prioritized in terms of restrictions, despite their risk level. I will take whatever precaution the health authorities deem necessary so that our kids can live as full and normal a childhood as we can give them. I’d be happy never to dine indoors again if that’s what it took – these kids have deserved to be the first to get their lives back all along.  

  • Everett March 9, 2022 (10:07 pm)

    Seattle Teacher here (but not with SPS). This has been the best piece of news I’ve read in a while. I’m sooooooooo excited for the SPS community and truly believe that, while the pandemic is not over, these decisions are for the better. I’ve been teaching in schools for over a decade now and our kids are really struggling socially/emotionally. My teacher friends from other states (with much lower vaccination rates) have been maskless for quite some time now and have managed just fine. If other places in the country can manage, why can’t we, a city/county who has been taking this pandemic seriously for the past two years? Hopefully other neighboring districts, including mine, will follow suit soon. Once I get the green light, I’m tearing mine off. It’s time! Congrats to SPS.

    • MercyMoi March 10, 2022 (7:59 am)

      How is violating a legally binding contract with the labor unions good for the SPS community? Making media announcements before bargaining tears down trust and frankly makes educators not want to work for SPS. After 2 years of extremely stressful work and demands SPS tells teachers that they’re not important by unilaterally deciding to lift the mandate. NOT good for the SPS community. Maybe at the bargaining table  the decision they would have come to is lifting the mandate by Monday, maybe not, but superintendent Jones said that he was going to be more transparent with the labor unions and that hasn’t happened. SPS is gross for this.

      • SPSparent March 10, 2022 (5:45 pm)

        Shouldn’t the teachers be the most ecstatic that life is getting back to normal? The kids are “so hard to deal with” since the pandemic started, and have so much emotional trauma from their lives being turned upside down – especially in Seattle where kids lost more school than most other places in the US, had more strict rules the ENTIRE pandemic- should improve greatly when they are able to feel more normal. 

        • Teacher March 11, 2022 (6:54 am)

          Their point is not about wearing masks. Their point is about working for a district that keeps their word that they had said they would bargain/discuss with the union before making the decision on masks. We do all the hard work, the district should listen to their teachers and collaborate with us.

          • MercyMoi March 12, 2022 (12:43 pm)

            Thank you.

        • Math Teacher March 12, 2022 (2:07 pm)

          The union often bargains peripheral side issues that may not be obvious at first glance. For example, based on personal health risks, some teachers, office staff, or other professionals may decide to retire this week instead of waiting until June. Others who are have reasons to minimize their risk may take an unpaid leave of absence.  How will SPS mitigate these side-effects ? In some industries, staff would work longer shifts or pick up overtime to cover missing staff. Doesn’t really work in schools. The contract in place between SEA and SPS does say that changes would be made in response to changing health department recommendations, and that the interested parties would meet to bargain implementation. SEA has filed a labor complaint, and it is pretty clear that they will win, but that process takes months. 

  • Mom March 9, 2022 (11:26 pm)

    Pathfinder admins still hoping we can all stay masked. Just got the memo.

    • K March 10, 2022 (7:51 am)

      You can!  It is in no way a requirement to go maskless.  You want to keep wearing them? Go for it!

  • Mike March 9, 2022 (11:38 pm)

    I thought everyone was following the science?!?!?  Huh, I guess science is not important now.

    • Walker March 10, 2022 (5:56 am)

      If we were to strictly “follow the science” we would all be wearing hazmat suits from here to eternity. There has to be a balance. We live in an extremely safe area, this masking decision is not an unreasonable conclusion to come to.

  • Bruno March 10, 2022 (6:27 am)

    Same set of people were shocked and threw a fit when they said return to in person learning… Follow the science.

  • Stickerbush March 10, 2022 (6:33 am)

    “Follow the science” means nothing. What we have is some data and people that look at that data and make decisions about what to do. These decisions are subjective and include factors other than just the actual data. This is how all decisions around public health and safety are made. Why can’t people understand this? You may disagree with the decisions but implying that it is possible to have an objective science-based decision is disingenuous.

    • Pessoa March 10, 2022 (1:15 pm)

      Thank you, I feared I was the only person addressing this crucial distinction between virology and public health policy.  I will be happy when I never have to hear this insipid, meaningless “follow the science” phrase again.   

    • Pessoa March 10, 2022 (3:57 pm)

      Thanks.  Finally someone else who grasps the vast difference between objective raw data and  subjective public health policy. 

  • Math Teacher March 10, 2022 (8:03 am)

    SPS to Union for last few weeks: “We’re too busy to follow our agreement to meet according to the contract and discuss next steps advised by Public Health.”  SPS to Union yesterday: “We’ll just go ahead and ignore our contract altogether and make this change without following our agreement.”    It would have been pretty easy for the District to do this in a collaborative way, addressing legitimate partner concerns around unique health situations, substitute availability, contact-tracing gaps, but they didn’t. Was that accidental? SPS leadership accidentally forgot there is a contract? oops? Or was this intentional, a gaslighting power-move, signaling an anti-union leadership position before work begins on next year’s contract? 

    • Rocket March 10, 2022 (9:25 am)

      Do you honestly think SEA was going to discuss this from any place of reason?  They would have just wasted everyone’s time forcing kids to where masks regardless of the fact their is no one in their bargaining unit that needs special protection and continuation of the masking forever policy you all seem to need to feel safe.Good on the district for end arounding the union on this, SEA would have just made a mess of it.  Even Jeff Duchin is on board with this,  there is literally nothing to negotiate guys used that MOU from 2020 to really stick it to kids and parents, the district is correct to cut you out of decisions about what’s best for the greater community.

  • PNW Teacher March 10, 2022 (8:43 am)

    Many schools are still socially-distanced with no outside volunteers allowed in the building.  This means, no assemblies, reduced capacity in bathrooms, desks 3 feet apart, no singing, no rug time.  ALL of this should be restored first, BEFORE lifting masks.  Masks should be the last to go.  Lifting it all up WILL be chaotic.  Behavior is already bad enough.   I highly doubt the people speaking here who claim to be teachers truly are if they aren’t addressing these realities.

  • A happy teacher March 10, 2022 (10:00 am)

    SPS is following the last agreement between the union and the district which allows them to make decisions based upon DOH and CDC.I am glad those with hearing loss, speech impediments and the need to read faces are again able to be included more fully in communication.No shame in wearing masks and no shame in non-masking.

    • CAM March 12, 2022 (2:28 am)

      There have been masks available since the beginning of mask mandates that are specifically designed for working with people who need to be able to see mouth movements for communication. If you were truly concerned about that issue you would be aware of it. 

  • Lucy March 10, 2022 (10:29 am)

    If you want to continue to wear a mask, you have the freedom to do so.  The CDC has stated that many people no longer need to mask up.  Please allow me the freedom to make my own, educated choice.  

  • Waeattlite March 10, 2022 (1:05 pm)

    It was apparently a good move to make this declaration without “bargaining” with the union. That from my perspective would have caused much confusion and chaos. Thank goodness we need not go through all that drama. 

  • Pessoa March 10, 2022 (2:49 pm)

    I am going to take a bit of unusual position and support those who continue masking even though, no, I do not believe masks are necessary.  Why?  Because just as I was adamantly opposed to using the  “follow the science” meme to badger people into vaccine and mask compliance, I will oppose the same tactic  to badger people into taking off masks.  Think  about what we just went through in the past two years, where social media suppressed dissenting opinions, where the state could shut down your business and/or threaten your livelihood for refusing to get vaccinated.  Think about where each one of you stood on those gross violations of civil liberties and free speech before casting stones at others.   

  • Still masking for a friend March 10, 2022 (7:11 pm)

    This my be a radical thought to put out there, but what if SPS and parents respected and supported teachers to set some of their own covid guidelines for their classrooms, for the rest of the school year at least?

    If I were a kid, think I could be flexible and respect some different protocols and and expectations of different teachers and classrooms. It could at the very least be a lesson for kids in being respectful and flexible to different modes and needs.

    I’m thinking within reason, of course, so for example some teachers could require masks in their rooms, or opting to teach outside on nice days when it makes sense, or asking kids to use sanitizer on their way in to help reduce spread of other bugs, etc.

    I’ve been thinking about how important teachers have been in my life, and how I would want to see them respected and supported in all of this.

  • Canton March 10, 2022 (10:17 pm)

    What I don’t understand is, this was all about the science.  Now the science is changing,  and science is never static, it evolves and we learn more as time progresses. Why no concept of antibody tests to check natural immunity? That would be science. If people knew where their immune system stood regarding covid, would there be the same skepticism? For instance, if a teacher knew where their immune system stood, would there be the same appreciation? If students knew the same, would there be less scrutiny? Unfortunately,  school staff( not most teachers) treat the kids as vectors. Once this all gets sorted out, when can parents access school grounds again, and not have to drop off our kids at a fence?

  • Wsparent March 11, 2022 (6:56 am)

    Gatewood had covid cases this week. Our masks are staying on indoors.

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