Colville’s headmaster will work with the state as he receives the first report of a mask mandate violation

COLVILLE, Washington – The Colville School Board voted Thursday to make masks optional for students only, four weeks before the end of Gov. Jay Insley’s term.

School board principal Dr Robert Gum told 4 News Now on Friday that he wants to give students “more time to breathe” instead of waiting for the March 21 mandate to be lifted.

However, Gum said they would “cancel” the decision “if they should”.

“We will do our best for our students and we will try to keep them free of our masks for as long as possible without causing financial damage to the area,” Gum said.

The board made optional masks only for students, not staff.

on the topic: Colville County Board of Trustees votes to make student masks optional

Steve Fisk, head of Colville County School, said they were reluctant to put staff in a position to break the law.

He said he had spoken to the Washington Department of Labor and Industry to see what potential consequences the optional masks would lead to. Fisk said he has spoken to L&I several times during the school year to make sure staff and students are safe in schools.

“I held a conference with them about what potential problems there might be with this, and I think I see it’s just diligence and understanding of all the variables around you and active work,” Fisk said. “We want everyone to be safe, and we want to make it as safe as possible, and how you do it to communicate effectively.”

Fisk said they received the first notification from the Washington office of the head of public education, meaning the county has 15 days to fulfill its mask mandate. If this does not happen, he will receive a second notification and has only five days to change the course of the mask decision.

If not, the state could delay funding for the school district.

Fisk said he had a meeting with Head of State Chris Reykdahl on Tuesday, and from that day the masks will still be optional for students.

“I don’t know what all the next steps will look like, but we will do them step by step, communicate passionately and work together,” he said, working with OSPI.

Despite this, Fisk said the interest is still in the safety of students and staff, and they are trying to figure out what will happen next with the school. He says that as they move forward, there will be more communication with families.

on the topic: In just one week, the State Prosecutor’s Office sent 4 reports of violating school masks

on the topic: “Districts are required to comply with the law”: the WA head warns schools to abide by the mask mandate

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