LOCAL NEWS

WA Superintendent Reykdal unveils plan to vaccinate state’s teachers

Jan 29, 2021, 11:35 AM | Updated: Feb 1, 2021, 8:11 am

Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal announced a new partnership Friday, which will look to have the state’s teachers vaccinated by the end of spring.

The OSPI will be partnering with Kaiser Permanente on the “Get Ready” plan, which will include 14 to 20 vaccine sites in both the Puget Sound region and Spokane. Those sites will be capable of offering vaccinations to over of 80% of school employees. Further plans are in the works to ensure that “more proximate sites” are also available in Central Washington.

This plan will still exist within the state’s current phased approach to vaccinations, meaning that at this time, doses are still limited to those over the age of 65 or those over 50 who live in a multigenerational household. Among public and private school employees in Washington, that phase currently consists of roughly 7,000 people. In total, the state has over 143,000 public school employees, while private schools have another 12,000.

Gov. Inslee explains why he’s believes it’s safe for teachers to return

Eligibility opens up to educators over the age of 50, as well as others who work in congregate settings, in Tier 2 of Phase 1B. The state is currently in Tier 1 of Phase 1B. Younger teachers are even further down the list, and currently scheduled to be fully vaccinated in later phases.

The hope with this partnership with Kaiser is to “expedite the work” once the next phases of teachers and school staff members are eligible to receive the vaccine.

“This program will allow Kaiser as a tremendous partner to utilize incredible assets across the Puget Sound region and Spokane, to ensure we get full coverage for our educators with vaccines as soon as (we get a) green light from the DOH based on the phase schedule,” Reykdal said Friday.

The OSPI and Kaiser Permanente are currently preparing these sites “as if we can launch in about four weeks, but it is probably more practical to think about this as five or six weeks away.”

The next phase of vaccinations will be allowed to begin once 50% of people in the previous phase have received their first dose.

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WA Superintendent Reykdal unveils plan to vaccinate state’s teachers