WEA demands safety first

As summer is waning and back-to-school is upon us, WEA continues to monitor updates to fall COVID requirements and to advocate for the well-being of our students, our communities, and ourselves. On Aug. 18, Gov. Inslee announced a new requirement that PK-12 and higher education educators be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18. This requirement mirrors his orders for state employees and includes the same exemptions for religious and health concerns. Read governor's proclamation.

According to NEA, about 90% of educators are already vaccinated. For WEA members who are, you have met the requirement already. For those who aren't, we recommend that if you can, you initiate vaccination as soon as possible. Information about applying for exemptions for those who qualify should be coming from your employers soon.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, WEA has supported following the science and implementing the recommendations of public health experts to reduce the spread of COVID. Nearly 18 months after COVID first closed our schools for two weeks, we are all sad and angry that we are still fighting this virus. If the medical and public health experts say the vaccine is safe and effective and that a vaccine requirement is the next best step to take to mitigate COVID risks for our students, educators, and communities, WEA will support that directive.

The decision to create this vaccine requirement was made by the governor with input from the state Department of Health and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.  Although locals associations cannot bargain for or against the requirement, they can bargain the impact of this requirement.

See related: FAQ from OSPI on COVID-19 vaccine requirement for K-12 school employees

  • OSPI COVID-19 Guidance and Resources

    Every school district will be expected to provide full-time in-person learning to all students who want it, and masks will still be required for students and staff  — or districts risk an "immediate" halt to their funding for the 2021-22 school year, says state schools Superintendent Chris Reykdal.

    "These critical public health actions, including msking for now, are not at the discretion of local boards or local superintendents," Reykdal says in a memo to school directors and superintedents.

    School districts must meet the state Health Department's K-12 School COVID-19 Requirements for Summer 2021 and the 2021-2022 School Year along with the state Labor & Industries (L&I) health and safety requirements.
    Read More
  • The rules from state Labor & Industries

    The state Labor and Industries (L&I) health and safety requirements form the backbone of measures to create safer teaching and learning environments. 
    Read More
  • Did you know?

    As an employee working onsite you must be trained on the best way to prevent transmission of COVID-19. This should happen before you start on the first day.

    All staff should be trained on the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE), how to wear, remove and dispose of or clean your PPE, including information on accessing PPE for regular assignments and additional levels of PPE (low, moderate, high), depending on your work situation.

    If you have not received this training, speak to your safety committee and/or your building rep.

    These safety guidelines have been in place since this past summer to ensure your worksite is safe and healthy for students and educators.

    Review COVID Safety Checklist