Masks are back for Richland School District until March 21st as RSD Board votes 4-1 to reinstate following mask mandate

RICHLAND, WA – Richland School Board voted 4-1 in a Thursday Night Emergency Board Meeting to reinstate masks until March 21st. This comes after Governor Inslee’s press briefing today which announced the mask mandate will remain in effect until March 21st.

Governor Inslee and Washington State Department of Health leaders cited that while COVID is getting better, hospitalizations and deaths are still not at a level where they feel safe enough to remove the mask mandate. However, data showed that continuing to practice precautionary measures like masking, social distancing, and vaccinating, will significantly decrease COVID cases, deaths, and hospitalizations by March 21st. Hence the date to lift the mask mandate.

“We want to follow the state’s laws and will be keeping the masks in schools until March 21st.” said Board President, Jill Oldson.

Jill Oldson, who ran the meting, voted in favor to reinstate the masks along with Kari Williams, Audra Byrd, and Rick Jansons. Semi Bird voted no.

“This was a very difficult decision and we thank the Richland community for their support and understanding. We ask that they give us grace in light of making these tough decision.” said Oldson.

Oldson confirmed if the board chose to not enforce the mask mandate in RSD schools, it would be in violation of the law and therefore pose a risk of losing school funding. If the RSD board continued to defy the mask mandate, students would have to remain home to do virtual schooling.

“We believe students belong in school. So we decided to keep them in-person in the classroom with their teachers. In order to do that, they’ll have to wear the mask.” said Oldson.

“We encourage the Richland School District community to take heart and hang on for the next few weeks as we are so close to no longer having the mask mandate come March 21st.” continued Oldson.

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Article Source: Fox 11