We reported Thursday that when school resumes this fall (as well as summer school for 2021) students will be required to mask up and maintain 3-foot social distance.

This comes to much chagrin of students and parents, many of whom are wearying of the ongoing mandates.

But the Washington State Department of Health also mandated another stipulation that has many of us in Southeastern WA chuckling:

--All public schools must offer 100% in-person full-time education for those who desire it. (the online option is still there for students who wish to remain away due to COVID).

This may seem strange, until you consider what our statewide return rates are. Months ago, we ranked 47th out of 50 states in numbers of students in-person in class.

Those rates have risen significantly, but mainly because state officials (including Gov. Inslee) simply ran out of justifications for keeping students out of class. Plummeting academic performances and student withdrawals to home and private schooling were also threatening Federal funding. As other states have opened for rapidly, their in-person student populations have shot upwards. Not ours.

Get our free mobile app

As of May 11, 2021 Burbio (an online data, information, business and trends tracking firm) is reporting WA state has 60% of it's students back in class. Compare that with Idaho, and 10 other states who are at 100%.  There's also numerous other states where the rates are above 95%.

It's almost embarrassing that New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and other 'COVID-crippled' states and regions are 10-20 percent ahead of us.

Burbio relies on data from thousands of the largest school districts across the country as well as other data in their rankings.

Washington state's 60% return rate puts us at 48th out of 50. Only CA (53%) and Hawaii (38%) are worse.  It's back to shameful status again for the state of Washington.

Speaking of masks in schools...!

LOOK: The Evolution of Slipknot's Terrifying Masks Throughout The Years