Washington state to require masks in schools this fall

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Gov. Jay Inslee says Washington state will follow federal guidance and recommend that people wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas where there is a high rate of COVID-19 – including those who are fully vaccinated.

At a news conference Wednesday Inslee also will require that all students and employees of K-12 schools wear masks when instruction resumes for the upcoming school year.

Inslee’s office said the masking guidance for the general public indoors is a recommendation only, but the school masking requirement is state law.

“This is a legal requirement, not up to the option of the local jurisdictions.” Inslee’s office said.

As cases continue to rise across the country, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed course Tuesday on some masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the delta variant of the coronavirus is fueling infection surges.

Health officials in more than a half-dozen western Washington counties were already recommending mask-wearing in indoor public spaces regardless of vaccine status because of a rise in COVID-19 cases and the highly infectious delta variant.

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