ISSAQUAH,Wash - You don’t have to be a teacher to feel passionate about whether or not Washington educators should move to the front of the line for vaccines.
"As a parent I am confused why they weren’t on the list back in October and why they weren’t advocating for themselves like many of the industries were," Jennifer Spall said.
Many on social media sounding off with one person on Wednesday saying she is 63-years-old who is retired and can stay home. She said a teacher should have her dose.
While others say absolutely not with more vulnerable people at risk needing it first.
As of Tuesday, the state says there were 800,000 Washingtonians who were eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine but are still waiting for shots.
Gov. Inslee, the one person with the most power to make vaccine decisions, made it blatantly clear he has no plans on pushing all educators further up the chain.
"I just do not believe that a 25-year-old teacher thinks they should get in line ahead of their 80-year-old grandparents, fundamentally don’t believe that," Inslee said.
According to Edweek, at least 22 states have already made some or all teachers eligible for vaccines.
Also to the South, Oregon plans on vaccinating all educators in the coming weeks putting teachers ahead of even some elderly people and those with pre-existing conditions.
Supporters say prioritizing teachers is an important step in opening up the economy. But Inslee said in a press briefing earlier this week the state can open schools safely for the younger kids before vaccinations.
"We have proven this because there are 100,000 pupils in the state of Washington who have been doing this safely for months," Inslee said.
He says teachers are not being expected to do more than other essential workers.
"It’s not anymore than we have asked for our childcare providers and they have stepped up to the plate," Inslee said.
On Wednesday, the head of the Seattle Education Association said she was disappointed with the governor’s remarks.
"It’s disappointing to hear the governor's remarks yesterday it was really disrespectful and not constructive," SEA President Jennifer Matter said.
Q13 News asked Matter on what was disrespectful about Inslee’s comments.
"It’s disrespectful because he said it’s time for educators to step up and we have been stepping up and we have been working harder than ever," Matter said.
When Q13 News asked Matter if teachers should move higher up on the vaccine list, she didn't give a direct answer to that question. But she emphasized that teachers should stay remote since they are able to do their jobs that way as opposed to other essential workers.
The Washington Education Association works with many local unions and the group continues to call for all educators to be vaccinated before going back in the classroom.
That has parents like Spall asking why they waited until recently to come out with the vaccination demand.
"No talk of vaccines before Christmas and first of the year, all of a sudden, it’s everybody needs to be vaccinated before they can go back to the classroom," Spall said.
WEA said they didn’t have a position on vaccines before and that it took time for their board to gather, propose and vote on the issue.
Spall agrees with Inslee saying a lot of data now shows that teachers can go back to class safely without a vaccination.
She said it is essential for teachers to educate in person because remote learning is failing kids. Spall says the lack of in-person learning is creating deeper inequities for struggling families across the state.