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Staff Vaccination Requirement

Summary: Governor Jay Inslee announced a new directive legally requiring all K–12 school district employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination

Washington State K-12 Vaccination Requirement

On August 18, Governor Jay Inslee announced a new directive legally requiring all K–12 school district employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination or be approved for a medical or religious exemption by October 18, 2021. 

The COVID-19 vaccination mandate is not optional. We are legally required to follow the Governor’s directive. We will work with labor partners to determine implementation and effects of the mandate. 

On August 12, Superintendent Jones issued a similar directive for all non-represented staff. He also directed central office staff to begin bargaining with labor partners to establish this mandate for represented staff. 

Governor Inslee’s announcement underscores the critical need for staff vaccinations to help protect our school communities and reduce unnecessary risk. Read the governor’s new directive

To learn more about Governor Inslee’s vaccination mandate, visit the frequently asked questions document on the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website. 

Dr. Jones Announces Staff Vaccination Requirement

August 12, 2021

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Seattle Public Schools staff, families, partners, and students have worked with a common purpose and focus – to keep our communities healthy and safe.

Together, we have been able to curb the spread of COVID-19 in our schools by using effective, layered preventive strategies, including masks, regular hand washing, physical distancing, contact tracing, and soon we will be adding diagnostic school-based testing. According to health experts at the CDC and the Washington State Department of Health, vaccines are another critical strategy in our fight against COVID, including the highly transmissible Delta variant. Vaccines are working and reduce hospitalizations and fatalities. Vaccinations help protect our staff and help reduce unnecessary risk for our students.

We must do everything within our power to support healthy and safe schools. It is our obligation.

On August 12, I directed that all non-represented Seattle Public Schools staff be vaccinated against COVID-19. As a condition of employment, employees will have until October 18, 2021, to become fully vaccinated. There are limited exemptions from this requirement for documented medical reasons and sincerely held religious beliefs.

Given the importance of this issue to our schools and community, I am encouraging all of our labor partners to join us in a commitment to mandate vaccines for all of our staff. I have directed our central office team to immediately begin bargaining with all our labor partners to establish this mandate for each of our represented staff. I appreciate the strong support of our Principals Association of Seattle Schools for this mandate and thank them for their leadership on this important school and public health measure. I am hopeful all our labor partners will readily agree to implement this critical measure to further public health and protect our school communities.

This mandate is one part of and will not replace the layered preventive strategies we are continuing to put in place to ensure we have a safe, healthy, and successful new school year. 

Dr. Brent Jones
Seattle Public Schools

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