John & Shari: Seattle teachers can keep masking if they’re concerned about safety

Mar 10, 2022, 7:44 AM
Co-teachers at Yung Wing School P.S. 124 give a lesson to their masked students in a classroom in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

In a change of plans, masks will be optional at Seattle Public Schools for all teachers, staff, and students starting Monday, March 14.

Washington schools to begin lifting mask requirements despite union pushback

“How did they do this without getting the teachers’ union involved?” KIRO Newsradio’s John Curley asked. “… It was last week or something we heard from the teachers union that they wanted to keep the masks on until May, [concerned it would] disrupt the normalcy of having the mask on. What an upside down world we live in where wearing a mask is normal. They wanted to keep it on because it would be too disruptive for the students to all the sudden have the masks taken off now.”

“They are very upset about this decision, by the way,” Shari Elliker said.

The superintendent, however, is still strongly encouraging continued masking for students and staff.

“The union response is not happy at all,” Shari summarized. “They say: ‘We are deeply disappointed by Seattle Public Schools’ masking announcement today which is completely contrary to its prior statements and commitments to its educators and the community and it is in violation of our contractual MOU with the district.'”

“It also says that it’s very difficult because they have no time to prepare,” Shari added.

John says the state teachers’ union has a lot of power.

“You better fear them every time they say something. They say jump, you say how high,” John said.

“Their argument was so ridiculous, so specious that there was no way anybody could take it seriously,” John said about the original claim that the transition to no masks would upset the children. “… It was a couple months ago that all the sudden they announced, ‘Oh, by the way, we’re not going to have school on Friday.’ That wasn’t disruptive for the parents? That wasn’t a concern for the kids?”

“This whole thing is so ridiculous, it’s laughable. I like the fact that they take the masks off. You want to keep wearing them, go ahead,” he said.

John & Shari: As state ends COVID mandates, some people can’t let go

John commends the superintendent (and state) for making the decision to end the mask mandate.

“Whoever made the decision, way to stand up for just a rational idea that a kid doesn’t need to wear a mask in school,” he said. “If the teachers want to wear one, go ahead if you’re so concerned for your safety.”

Listen to John Curley and Shari Elliker weekday afternoons from 3 – 7 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

John Curley and Shari Elliker on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to tom and curleyTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 3pm for John Curley and Shari Elliker.

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John & Shari: Seattle teachers can keep masking if they’re concerned about safety