All public, private and charter school personnel in Washington state must be vaccinated by mid-October or face losing their job, officials announced on Wednesday.
Citing a spike in coronavirus cases, Gov. Jay Inslee said school staff will no longer have a weekly testing option as an alternative to getting vaccinated. Washington became the first state in the nation to mandate vaccines for teachers and other school employees. The decree will also apply to state universities and colleges. Employees who aren’t fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 will face dismissal.
“We cannot continue to gamble with the health of our children, our educators, our school staff, parents or the public,” Inslee said. The state’s teacher’s union backed the mandate after Inslee’s announcement. “By vaccinating staff, we reduce the possibility of infecting those who cannot be vaccinated, including our students under 12 years old,” said Larry Delaney, president of the Washington Education Association, according to The Columbian.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is also expected to announce mandatory vaccinations for New Jersey’s teachers in the next few days, officials confirmed to the The Asbury Park Press, which would make it the third state to take such action after Washington and California.
Meanwhile some New York City teachers groups have called for a similar measure, however at this stage, staff still retain the testing option instead of getting vaccinated. The United Federation of Teachers has encouraged members to get the shot but has stopped short of backing mandated vaccinations.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK POST
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