State superintendent urges vaccine mandate for K-12 teachers

Chris Reykdal Superintendent
OSPI

OLYMPIA, Wash. — State Superintendent Chris Reykdal is urging Governor Inslee to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for K-12 teachers.

Reykdal wrote a letter to Inslee requesting he issue an executive order requiring all employees in K-12 schools to get vaccinated, in line with Inslee’s vaccine mandate for state employees.

This is due solely to the steep rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations brought on by the delta variant.

“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,” wrote Reykdal.

Reykdal announced last week he would pull funding from any school district that violates rules on face masks in schools.

RELATED: School districts that don’t enforce mask-wearing will lose state funding, says OSPI

If this order is issued, employees who opt out of vaccination—except with a religious or medical exemption—will be fired.

Additionally, the state would need to allow time for teachers to get fully vaccinated. Because of this, Reykdal urges Inslee make this decision as soon as possible to keep kids safe.

Spokane Public Schools sent this statement about Reykdal’s announcement, “SPS continues to encourage families and staff to follow the guidance of public health officials. We will continue to recognize the mandates provided at the state level.”