State Superintendent wants Inslee to require COVID-19 vaccination for K–12 school employees

Washington State Superintendent Chris Reykdal requested on Thursday that Gov. Jay Inslee issue an executive order to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations among all employees working in K-12 schools.

In his letter, Reykdal urged the governor to take such action sooner rather than later, as school districts are currently making staff decisions and negotiating with labor partners in preparation for this upcoming fall. 

"With the continued increase in cases of COVID-19 across our state due to the highly contagious Delta variant, students losing precious time learning in-person with their educators and peers because of quarantine or, potentially, school building closures is a real threat. Especially after a year and a half of remote and hybrid learning, a continuity of in-person instruction will be more important this year than ever," said Reykdal.

You can read the full letter below or click here

Similar to vaccination requirements for all state employees and healthcare providers, Reykdal requested that if such an order were to go into effect for schools, any employee who chooses not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine should also be subject to non-disciplinary dismissal of employment. 

"In consulting with several of our partners and stakeholders in K–12 education, I was told unequivocally that if you are going to make the decision to require the vaccine for school employees, it will make a significant difference if that decision is made as soon as possible," Reykdal's letter continued.

Governor Inslee's Office responded by affirming that public K-12 employees were not included in the vaccine mandate. While the governor will look into additional policies to increase vaccinations, there are no plans to announce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for public school employees at this time. 

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