LOCAL NEWS

Washington Education Association asks to prioritize teachers for COVID vaccine

Jan 13, 2021, 1:52 PM | Updated: 1:54 pm
teachers...
Binasa Musovic (L), an educational paraprofessional and Chris Frank, a teacher at Yung Wing School P.S. 124, teach blended learning students during the first day back to school on December 07, 2020 at Yung Wing School P.S. 124 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

The Washington Education Association (WEA) is asking local officials to prioritize any teachers who are currently working in person with students or are expected to soon to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Virologist: Distribution of COVID vaccine bigger issue than supply

The union’s written position on COVID-19 vaccination says that it believes “in addition to existing workplace health and safety requirements, vaccines are an essential medical tool in preventing infectious diseases.” To be effective, WEA acknowledges that vaccines “must have widespread availability.”

The WEA says any educator regardless of their age should get a COVID shot. They add that it’s important that we vaccinate teachers fully before we start sending kids back to school.

“The WEA encourages widespread use of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccinations. Vaccine plans must also ensure equitable access to vaccines in rural, and isolated communities and prioritize educators. The State Department of Health, OSPI, and the Governor’s Office must assist in getting a sufficient supply of vaccine to school districts to ensure all current school district employees who are working in-person with students have the option of receiving the vaccine immediately,” the statement reads. “Before more educators are ordered back to in-person services, every employee must be given access to vaccine shot #1 and shot #2 before resuming in-person services and instruction.”

WEA says all school employees — classified, certificated, full time, part time, and substitutes — including Pre-K through grade 12 and higher education professionals should receive priority access to the vaccine.

Mitigation measures, the WEA notes, will continue to be crucial as well until the efficacy and safety of a COVID-19 vaccine for children is known and studied.

“In addition, the full effect of vaccines on transmission and reinfection is not yet clear. Therefore, ensuring the health and safety of the entire school community means that strict adherence to current workplace health and safety requirements must remain a top priority,” the statement reads.

Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Denise Juneau has called on Gov. Jay Inslee — as well as state and county health leaders — in a written letter to give higher COVID-19 vaccine prioritization to educators and school district personnel before they return to the classroom.

Seattle Public Schools Superintendent calls for higher vaccine prioritization for educators

SPS is currently set to resume in-person instruction on March 1, 2021, for about 10,000 Pre-K, kindergarten, first grade, and specific Special Education grade bands. Juneau also requested all educators be eligible to receive the vaccine, regardless of their age.

“It does not make sense to have an age limit of ‘over 50’ for educational professionals,” Juneau said in her letter. “Our top priority must be to keep our staff, students, and communities physically safe, as well as mentally and academically healthy.”

Teachers of grades K-12 and school staff above the age of 50 are listed in the state’s Phase 1B-2 as it stands now, expected to start in February. Those under 50 may have to wait until April for Phase 1B-4.

Local News

Climate Pledge Arena...
Associated Press

Climate Pledge Arena ready to get Kraken for hockey debut

The first event ever inside Climate Pledge Arena — whether it will be considered the official first event or not — was far from a soft opening.
1 day ago
shipping containers...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Approximately 40 shipping containers adrift off Washington coast

Approximately 40 shipping containers were lost off a ship 43 miles west of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, according to the United States Coast Guard.
1 day ago
refugees...
Kathryn Altena

Gov. Inslee, Washington groups prepare to welcome Afghan refugees

In the coming months, 1,400 Afghan refugees are expected to pass through the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport upon their arrival in Washington.
1 day ago
King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski...
Nick Bowman

King County Councilmember accused of history of ‘verbally abusive’ behavior toward female staff

King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski is facing accusations detailing a history of verbally abusive behavior toward female staff members.
1 day ago
Microsoft campus, vaccine...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Racial harassment allegations at Microsoft campus construction site in Redmond

Racial harassment on the job — that’s what a Black construction employee says he was dealing with for months at the build site on Microsoft’s campus in Redmond.
1 day ago
Jaime Herrera Beutler...
Nick Bowman

Washington Rep. Herrera Beutler breaks from GOP party line again over Bannon contempt vote

Washington Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler was among nine Republicans who voted in favor of holding Steve Bannon in contempt on Thursday.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Washington Education Association asks to prioritize teachers for COVID vaccine