COVID-19 Updates

Feb. 18, 2022

Earlier this afternoon, Governor Inslee announced an end to the mask mandate in schools starting on March 21. This means that on March 21, parents will have the option to choose whether or not their children wear masks in school buildings. Please note that masks will still be required for use on buses per a federal mandate that requires masks be worn on all forms of public transportation. 

You may wonder why we have to wait until March 21 to end the mask mandate. This date is based on when the Washington Department of Health expects the impact of the Omicron variant on our hospitals and health care providers to be significantly reduced. Additionally, by law, individual school districts are not allowed to change masking policies until this mandate is ended. The Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction has committed to enforcing the mask mandate in schools until March 18. School districts who do not abide by this mandate will be subject to punitive actions. 

With the ending of the mandate, the choice to continue wearing a mask at school will be very personal and people will have many different reasons for why they continue to wear one or choose not to. We need to be understanding and respectful of each other as we make this transition. 

Sunnyside staff and students will have the choice to wear a mask at school, with the expectation that others’ choices will be respected. Our district will not tolerate bullying of any kind for those who choose to continue wearing masks or for those who choose not to wear a mask. 

For young children, parents may let teachers know their wishes regarding mask wearing. The schools will discuss the change with students in a developmentally appropriate manner, including how to respect everyone’s personal choice and how their choice may impact quarantine.

Be respectful if anyone requests that you remain physically distanced from them. We will continue to provide physical distancing to the extent possible in our classrooms.

If you have students who express any anxiety, feel free to refer them to your school counselors or psychologists for additional support as needed.

We anticipate the release of the mask mandate will also result in changes to our COVID contract tracing and quarantine protocols. As we learn more about these changes in the coming weeks, we will keep you informed. 

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