Seattle school announces '10 day' return to masking to 'stop the spread'

"They’ve cancelled most events yet are still going ahead with the superintendent’s in-person retirement party on 6/16."

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA

Seattle Public Schools announced Tuesday that they will be requiring universal masking for "10 days to stop spread" at Arbor Heights Elementary school due to an increase of COVID-19 cases.

In an email obtained by The Post Millennial, Peter Donovan, Principal, and Tino Castaneda, Assistant Principal wrote, "There has been an increase of COVID-19 cases identified at Arbor Heights. In response, the district will be requiring universal masking for 10 days to stop spread and preserve in-person learning. Required universal masking will begin 5/18 and continue through Friday 5/27."

The email continued, "On 5/20 & 5/24 we will be providing optional testing for all students and staff in the building who have provided consent. The family of any student we do not have consent for in our system will receive an email."

The pair added, "…in consultation with Public Health, the district will be implementing required testing in some classrooms that have a high number of positive cases. If your child has been required to test you have received a separate message with a testing process that will still be in place."

Additionally, "The Coordinated School Health team will continue to monitor cases at our school and consult Public Health about next steps. If additional safety measures need to be taken, we will be provided guidance by the central COVID response team."

The letter concluded by stating that "Our goal is to keep as many students learning in-person as possible while maintaining a safe environment. To help do that, we ask that you please monitor your child for symptoms and keep them home if they are sick."

The Seattle Education Association teachers union has been fighting to get masks back on students since restrictions were lifted in March.

Other area school districts, including the Issaquah School District "highly recommend universal masking until further notice for all students and staff."

According to an email to parents from the district obtained by The Post Millennial, "In the Washington State Department of Health 'Requirements and Guidance to Mitigate COVID-19 Transmission in K-12 Schools,' health officials state that masks may be required universally during clusters and/or outbreaks in order to limit disease transmission and ensure in-person instruction. Health officials at PHSKC say this measure is strongly recommended at these three schools at this time, in order to prevent interruptions to in-person learning."

One parent from Cougar Ridge Elementary, which is in the district, told The Post Millennial, "They’ve cancelled most events yet are still going ahead with the superintendent’s in-person retirement party on 6/16." The parent added that for a 5th grade graduation ceremony " family is allowed to attend nor celebrate with the kids. Conversely, our outgoing superintendent is getting an indoor open house celebration (all are welcome) to send him off."

In an email the school sent out Monday obtained by The Post Millennial, students in in classes with positive cases will mask until further notice.

Mask mandates for school children have been trickling back in different parts of the country.

Last week Pittsburgh Public Schools announced that they were requiring masks again beginning Friday, without a targeted end date.

Some students have not had mask mandates removed since the pandemic began and children were sent home for remote learning. Toddlers in New York City are still being forced to mask by Mayor Eric Adams.


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