DORI MONSON

Dori asks state superintendent who decides the sincerity of someone’s faith?

Aug 20, 2021, 3:02 PM | Updated: Aug 23, 2021, 11:21 am
Vaccine mandate, school employees, exemption...
Washington Superintendent Chris Reykdal. (TVW)
(TVW)

Governor Jay Inslee announced on Wednesday a vaccine mandate for all K-12 public school staff in Washington state. They must now be vaccinated — with limited exceptions for medical or religious reasons — or risk losing their job. The mandate also applies to private and charter school staff statewide.

KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson pointed out after a Q13 interview that there was a vibe from State Superintendent Chris Reykdal where he was suggesting that if teachers didn’t want the vaccine, they could just say that they have a religious exemption. The governor’s office later said it expected Reykdal would clarify exemptions.

Was there a tiff between Reykdal and the governor’s office, Dori asked?

“There’s no gap on this thing at all and there’s no vibe,” Reykdal said. “This is a religious exemption and that means something. A personal exemption, or philosophical, you can just roll in, check a box, and say, ‘I’m not doing something,’ and it’s done.”

Seattle school district, teachers union reach tentative deal on COVID mandates

Reykdal explained that the religious exemption is a higher threshold that requires explanation of the belief system that is in conflict. He said he might not have done a good job, previously, of explaining that. His office is working with the Attorney General’s office on the forms.

“Are we really going to have government deciding the sincerity of one’s faith now?,” Dori asked.

“That’s what makes this so hard,” Reykdal acknowledged. “This has existed for a long time and medical providers have been struggling through, … it’s new to us in education but they have struggled through. There’s a lot of guidance, as we understand. We expect those kinds of definitions to come our way.”

He told Dori he doesn’t know the details of it yet, but it doesn’t mean that they’re collecting signatures from faith leaders or verifying that you belong to a church.

“I think the hard part here is that it’s a legitimate right of government during a crisis like this to have a vaccine, a legitimate thing for folks to seek an exemption, and then there’s a fine line between the employee’s expression of religious belief and the employer getting to say, OK, we’re documenting that and providing that, or we’re questioning that.”

Reykdal says he expects they’ll see that paperwork from the Attorney General’s office by early next week.

The superintendent confirmed the mandate does not include parents visiting a school for a school play, athletic event, teacher conference or other event. It applies to people who have direct, prolonged contact with students.

Mandate for students

What about a mandate for students?

“We already have more than a half dozen requirements for kids to go to school,” Reykdal said, adding that before it came to that, the vaccine would have to be approved by the FDA, go through a federal review, and then be reviewed by state health boards.

He suspects it would take at least a couple years before it’s a school requirement.

“I do think some day this ends up on the list,” Reykdal said. “That sounds to me like a very long process, so I continue to believe that this is not anywhere in our near future. Heck, 5-11 year-olds aren’t authorized to take this thing at this point.”

Dori said he’s heard from bus drivers, teachers, and volunteers who say they won’t get vaccinated because of a mandate. Reykdal said he understands there will be challenges in staffing, but they’ll figure it out over time and attract people who are willing to take a vaccine as a condition of employment, just like a lot of health care workers.

“But that will take some time,” he said.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dori monsonTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

Dori Monson Show

Dori Monson

Inslee Phase 2...
Dori Monson Show

Mayor of Winlock says Gov. Inslee should ‘submit himself to medical review’

The mayor of Winlock passed a proclamation saying he believes Gov. Inslee requires professional medical intervention for narcissistic personality disorder.
3 days ago
Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta...
Dori Monson Show

State Senator disagrees with making insurance rates a ‘zero sum game’

State Senator Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah) explains why he's pushing back against Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler's emergency rule.
3 days ago
teen hit and run...
Dori Monson Show

‘We are a country of laws’: Councilmember echoes calls to prosecute teen hit-and-run suspect as adult

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn is calling for the teen suspect of an alleged series of hit and run incidents to be tried in adult court.
4 days ago
class, quarantine...
Dori Monson Show

Federal Way mom says school district is unprepared for class to quarantine

A mom in Federal Way says her son's entire class has to be in quarantine after one kid tested positive for COVID, and there's no remote learning option.
6 days ago
Stolen truck, Everett...
Dori Monson Show

Stolen truck found, returned to 83-year-old Everett man

An 83-year-old Everett-area man is looking for his mint condition 1997 F-250 truck, after it was stolen out of his driveway earlier this week.
9 days ago
Tahoma High School...
Dori Monson Show

Student says fight at Tahoma school wasn’t racially motivated

A Tahoma High School student involved in a fight witnesses say included racial slurs is claiming that race was not a factor in the incident.
10 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...
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.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...
By Alaska Airlines

Calling all football fans: follow Russell on the road

Take your Northwest spirit that we’re known for on the road this season with Alaska Airlines.
...
By Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
Dori asks state superintendent who decides the sincerity of someone’s faith?