State Funding to be Withdrawn From Schools Flaunting Mask Mandates

State Funding to be Withdrawn From Schools

Mandatory mask-wearing and full-time, in-person options are among the new COVID-19 mitigation rules for schools, and any school districts that do not comply may forfeit state funds. School who struggle from funding can apply for a business loans or student loans in official website.

In an email to school districts, State Superintendent Chris Reykdal said, “Districts or boards who deliberately disobey, or defy an explicit law, for example, a governor’s executive decree, that is a legal authority and will be subject to an immediate stop to the basic education apportionment process as well as their federal funding, which are derived from OSPI”

If schools do not provide a full-time, in-person learning experience “for each and every family and student who seeks it,” funds will be lost, as this is a “violation of basic education rights of families,” according to Reykdal.

He underlined in the email that state mandates are not up to the discretion of local school boards or superintendents. 

“I still believe that locally elected school boards are the best front-line decision makers for policy in their schools,” Jim Walsh, 19th District Representative, said.

“I believe the law granting broad discretionary powers to the school board is at least as good as the one granting emergency powers to the governor,” Walsh said. 

“So we’re dealing with a power struggle.”

State allocation accounts for around 85% of the budget in Longview. Rick Parrish, a spokesman for the district, said the district is currently working through the latest guidelines and talking with health experts to ensure it accurately understands the rules.

“It’s not as simple as it used to be,” Parrish said, noting that although the new guidelines allow more alternatives to “keep students safe and in school,” they also complicate planning.

According to Kelso Superintendent Mary Beth Tack, the revisions in close contact criteria are “an very beneficial improvement” that will assist keep kids in class.

“Getting Kelso students back in the classroom five days a week has been one of our top objectives, and we are excited about the next school year,” she said, adding that the district will keep families and staff informed during the summer.

Updates to the guidance

All employees and students must wear protective face masks or masks, regardless of their vaccination status. The physical distancing requirements and quarantine procedures have been revised to limit the exclusion of students from classes according to the updated guidance stated.

Pupils who were at least three feet away from a contaminated student when both youngsters were putting on masks and other preventative techniques were now excluded from the “close contact” criterion.

When the guidance changed last school year to enable children to sit closer together, the close contact radius of six feet did not change. It resulted in more pupils getting quarantined when there was a case.

According to Krager, “if they were wearing masks, it just hardly ever happened” for kids to spread it to one another in a classroom context.

Layered mitigation, according to Krager, is an essential aspect of minimizing outbreaks and keeping pupils in class.

COVID-19, he explained, is a “slow-burning illness.”  “You can be exposed for 14 days and not show any signs.” 

In long-term care facilities, you might have these slow, continuous breakouts with children. 

This could result in many disruptions, such as closed classes and a large number of children being quarantined.”

How bout the adults?

However, the standards state that the quarantine and distance exception does not apply to teachers, employees, or other adults in the indoor classroom setting.

Masks are not required to be worn outside or when eating or drinking, but they must be worn at all other times unless they have a medical exemption.

Krager admitted that ” we must look at the evidence, and the evidence is overwhelming that masks are effective and safe. Should we wish to create a school environment that is as private and that is as uninvolved as feasible, I believe that masks will be a significant part of the solution.

Schools must also “provide access to timely diagnostic testing” under the new rules. 

Under a state pilot program, Longview and Kelso offered voluntary testing in schools in the second half of the previous school year.

The guidelines state that “while vaccination is not a necessity for in-person schooling at K-12 schools, it is the best necessary precaution against COVID-19 available to individuals 12 years of age and older,” and that “vaccination and screening should be encouraged for all students who are eligible, teachers, staff, volunteers, and families.”

More regulations to come

According to a press statement from the Department of Health, more regulations for sports and extracurriculars will be released in early August, and a fresh update of general guidelines will be released in late October.

While children appear to be less affected by COVID-19, Krager believes it is crucial to prevent them from becoming infected because hospitals see children with long-term COVID-19 symptoms such as chronic weariness and shortness of breath.

“We see it in both kids and adults,” he said. 

“It’s not as thoroughly studied in children, but it happens, and it’s hazardous for children if it persists.” I believe it is worthwhile to safeguard children.”

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