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.