SEATTLE — As of Monday, masks are officially optional for students, staff and visitors of Seattle Public Schools as part of the new policy.
The district maintains mask use is still strongly encouraged, but the decision is now in the hands of students and parents.
According to a district spokesperson, the start of the new "masks optional" policy was smooth, and they said this decision was made as case numbers continue to drop. Students and parents across the state now are adjusting to the latest pandemic era change.
“That adaptability is what they’re going to get out of this pandemic they’re going to be the most adaptable generation in a long time,” said Lillian Welch, a mother of a Seattle student.
“It was kind of good to see all my classmates faces but kind of a little weird because like not many people were wearing them,” said third grader Keira Lam.
The decision to makes masks optional comes more than two years after the World Health Organization first declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
“It all started when she was in second grade and she’s almost done with fourth grade now. It’s a big part of her memories of it. And I just think they’ll put it on when they need to and take it off when they don’t,” Welch said.
Ten-year-old Jack Hinnen brought his mask to school and, as it turned out, so did many of his friends.
“I thought there were going to be a lot more people without masks but in my class there were only four people out of 28, so...” Hinnen said.
Students like Jack are proving they can make very adult decisions if given the chance.
“I think most kids are excited to get their masks off but they also don’t want to miss their trips, I’m going to Hawaii in the spring and I’m keeping my mask on because I don’t want to not be able to go,” Hinnen said.
It's a decision he and other are making to mask up, even if they don’t have to.
“Nobody likes masks but a lot of people think they’re still a good idea,” Hinnen said.