The Yakima Health District sent out a letter to all families indicating that the Washington Department of Health (DOH) is requiring all students and staff to wear cloth face masks when at school. The clarification comes after some have questioned guidance from the State Secretary of Health that indicated face shields could be used for students in K-12 in place of masks. That guidance included a provision that when state agencies’ orders and actions are “in conflict, the more protective requirement must be followed.” In this case, that means the DOH requirement for cloth masks overrules the guidance allowing face shields.
The YHD letter to families went on to explain, “We would like to make it clear that for the safety of your children, their classmates, your families, your communities, and the teachers and staff of our schools, we support the governor’s order requiring masking for all individuals five or older with rare exception for specific disabilities and health conditions.”
YHD has a process for individuals to request waivers to use an alternative to a cloth mask in cases of specific disabilities and health conditions. Only those with YHD waivers will be allowed to wear face shields or receive other accommodations instead of cloth masks. More information is available at https://www.yakimacounty.us/2264/Health-District.