Inslee orders students to remain masked
Governor says masks will be required on all public school campuses
Last updated 7/29/2021 at 12:48pm
OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday, July 28, ordered all public school districts in the state to require students and employees to wear masks on school grounds when classes resume in the fall.
During a press conference, Inslee blamed the need to wear masks on residents who have chosen not to get vaccinated against the Wuhan coronavirus.
“We will continue our existing policies regarding masking; all students and employees will be required to wear masks around each other in the building, regarding of their vaccination status,” he said. "This is a legal requirement that all districts will need to follow.”
In Eastern Washington, only about 1-of-3 three residents have gotten inoculated, even after the state offered numerous giveaways and freebies as an incentive to get vaccinated.
In addition to requiring all public school students and workers to wear masks, he called on others to voluntarily wear a mask in public as the new “Delta variant” of the virus spreads.
“This is only a recommendation, not a legal requirement,” he said of masks, noting that not having to wear a mask is also an incentive to get a vaccination.
While saying the masking suggestion is only a recommendation, he reaffirmed a previous order that requires employers to police workers and require them to get vaccinated or wear a mask on the job.
Inslee called it “maddening” that residents are choosing not to get the experimental vaccination, calling the current increase in cases the “fifth wave.”
The basis for his mask recommendation, he said, was “evidence from the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]” that even vaccinated people can transmit the disease to other people.
At the same time, Inslee said those have been vaccinated are not getting sick.
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have noted thousands of “breakthrough cases” nationwide, in which vaccinated individuals are getting sick due to the coronavirus.
In addition, some vaccine manufacturers have noted that there may be a need for a third inoculation against the virus. Several vaccines already require at least two injections.
Inslee, however, blamed the spread of the virus on unvaccinated residents.
“We just can’t have unvaccinated people injuring their fellow citizens,” the governor said. “People who are unvaccinated right now are a danger to their fellow citizens.
State Secretary of Health Dr. Umair A. Shah backed up the governor’s call to get a shot and wear a mask. But he also said vaccinated residents are the primary drivers of the spread.
“Those who are vaccinated – let me be very clear – are largely driving this increase in transmission across the state of Washington, and the country,” Shah said.