GIG HARBOR, Wash. — Protesters in Gig Harbor are calling on school districts across the state to drop mask mandates, especially for young children.
As it stands the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is still recommending universal making for students in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The outcry comes from parents as the nation marks nearly two years from the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Friday dozens of parents gathered on a Gig Harbor overpass carrying signs denouncing mandates and waving American flags.
“Our children are being affected, it’s gone on too long and we’re seeing serious mental effects to our children because it’s not a normal school day,” said Michelle Hambly a Gig Harbor mom who organized the event.
Hambly and other parents want pandemic era restrictions dropped in the classroom citing the low risk of serious infection among younger students.
“Children need everything to go back to normal,” Hambly continued.
Just a day earlier Governor Inslee announced the state will drop the outdoor mask mandate for large events and said more rollbacks could be on the way.
There is no date for when the universal indoor mask mandate will lift, but the "day is coming" when the state no longer has a mask mandate, Inslee said Thursday.
In Washington, a statewide indoor mask mandate, regardless of vaccination status, has been in place since Aug. 23, 2021. In September, an outdoor mask mandate was put in place for events with 500 or more people. The mandates were put in place as COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations increased during the rise of the delta and omicron variants.
As for schools and masks – the state has yet to announce plans to remove a mask mandate, though the Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal said he's open to dropping the mandate.
“I would, I would make them mask optional and let families make that decision at this point with a really good health and information campaign that if a new variant comes along that’s as deadly as the ones we’ve seen there may be periods of time where we have to go back to it,” said Reykdal.