Gov. Inslee urges teachers to go back to the classroom, not wait for vaccinations

OLYMPIA, Wash. — As more school districts across Washington begin easing students back into school, Governor Jay Inslee has written a letter to the Washington Education Association, saying teachers won’t jump the line for vaccines.

The WEA has urged the governor in recent weeks to move teachers up in phases. If not, the union wants the phase-in process slowed down until more vaccines are available. Gov. Inslee has held strong to the belief that teachers should not get priority for vaccines and in his letter, he cited research that it’s safe for schools to reopen even before teachers are vaccinated.

“What we have found is that, of those 200,000 students doing on-site learning, there has been minimal in-school transmission either between students or between students and staff,” Gov. Inslee wrote. “There have been 87 documented instances of in-school transmission out of 200,000 students.”

Wednesday, the head of the CDC said teachers can safely reopen before teachers receive the vaccine.

Gov. Inslee’s letter said it’s important that schools are safe for teachers and students. He says he’s worked with Labor and Industries to increase safety protocols. His letter, which you can read here, also cites multiple research studies on the safety of in-person learning and the prevalence of in-school transmission.

In Idaho, teachers have been given the vaccine as a priority.

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In Washington, school districts can decide whether or not to return to in-person learning. According to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, districts vary widely across the state. Most have kids in person in at least a hybrid model at some level. 14 districts, including Seattle Public Schools, are still in 100% remote learning.

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