All public, private and charter school personnel in Washington state must be vaccinated by mid-October or face being fired, officials announced Wednesday.
Citing a spike in coronavirus cases, Gov. Jay Inslee said school staffers will no longer have a weekly testing option in lieu of full vaccination.
Washington became the first state in the nation to mandate vaccines for teachers and other school employees.
The decree will also apply to state universities and colleges.
Employees who fail to get fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 will face termination.
“We cannot continue to gamble with the health of our children, our educators, our school staff, parents or the public,” Inslee said.
The state’s teachers union backed the mandate after Inslee’s announcement.
“By vaccinating staff, we reduce the possibility of infecting those who cannot be vaccinated, including our students under 12 years old,” said Larry Delaney, president of the Washington Education Association, according to The Columbian.
While some New York City teachers groups have called for a similar measure, staffers still retain the testing option instead of getting vaccinated.
The United Federation of Teachers has encouraged members to get the shot but has stopped short of backing mandated vaccinations.