Despite early pushback, Seattle Public Schools reaches ‘fantastic’ vaccine mandate compliance

Oct 20, 2021, 12:07 PM | Updated: 3:31 pm
Seattle Public Schools...
Hamilton International Middle School (credit Joe Wolf via Flickr)
(credit Joe Wolf via Flickr)

With the deadline for education, health care, and government employees to become fully vaccinated against COVID in the rearview mirror, questions persist as to just how compliant the state has been.

Not so with Seattle Public Schools (SPS).

“The headline is it’s fantastic news,” SPS spokesperson Tim Robinson told KIRO Nights. “We are reporting … a 99% vaccination rate.”

Robinson clarified that the figure applies only to full-time staff with SPS, including teachers, principals, and management staff. Full-time employees with SPS account for 7,283 of its more than 12,000 total employees. The rest are hourly and seasonal personnel.

“It’s understandable,” Robinson said. “Parents, families want to know, ‘what about my teacher?’ They are over 99% vaccination rate.”

“These numbers are finalized [Oct. 18] because [that] is the day that the vaccination mandate, that the governor put down, is due,” he continued. “We are reporting these numbers to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and just letting them know that, overall, 99% vaccination rate. Our teachers, over 99% compliance, 100% of our principals are compliant. Of our management staff, 99% compliant.”

Robinson added that a number of employees are in the process of getting their second shots, and are on leave until they can become fully compliant with the mandate.

He also indicated that 205 employees have successfully sought religious or medical exemptions.

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“In the beginning, there may have been questions, there may have been folks articulating some of that passion,” Robinson responded when asked about any pushback the schools experienced against the mandate. “There were expressions that could have been taken as pushback a little bit, but it was more … just raising some legitimate, great questions.”

“Those were worked out,” he added. “… We live in a county, in a city, and in the area of the state that has a really high vaccination rates. I think that what we have experienced at Seattle Public Schools certainly just follows right along in line with the way that this community approaches vaccination.”

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Despite early pushback, Seattle Public Schools reaches ‘fantastic’ vaccine mandate compliance