Washington authorities said Thursday all schools in the state must provide full-time, in-person education for students for the 2021-22 school year and that students and staff will still be required to wear masks.
The Washington State Department of Health released guidelines that included mitigation efforts they said were designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The mask directive could prove controversial, as the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday moved to ease indoor mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people. Currently, people over the age of 12 are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in Washington state.
About 1.1 million students attend public schools in Washington state. The Washington state schools directive for fall calls for all people in K-12 schools to wear masks indoors – as well as outdoors if six feet of distancing can't be maintained.
State authorities are recommending COVID-19 vaccinations and testing programs but are not requiring them for in-person instruction in the fall.