Connecticut, Oregon mandate vaccinations for staff at K-12 schools this fall
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As the fall season is ramping up for school districts across the country, some teachers will be required to be vaccinated amid the rise of the delta coronavirus variant, including those in Connecticut and Oregon.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, announced a new executive order on Thursday amending current COVID-19 emergency declarations to require all state employees, staff of all childcare facilities, and faculty and teachers at PreK-12 schools to receive at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine by September 27, 2021.
"Being vaccinated against COVID-19 is the most effective means of preventing infection and subsequent transmission," Gov. Lamont said. "Our dedicated state employees must work together to ensure a safe work environment for one another and can do so by getting vaccinated.
Those who are not vaccinated will be required to undergo weekly testing. Hospital and long-term care employees will not have this option.
Across the country, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced that all K-12 school employees must be fully vaccinated before starting the fall school season.
"Ensuring all the adults around students are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 adds another layer of protection for students," Gov. Brown said Thursday.
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Lamont's decision in Connecticut comes just two days after he said during a news conference in New Haven that though he had no plan to issue a statewide mask requirement, children under 12 years old are not able to receive a coronavirus vaccine would need to wear one.
"I see some of the problems they are having in the southern states, where the kids are not wearing masks, where they’re forced to quarantine, where teachers are getting ill and we’re not going to let that happen, not in Connecticut," Lamont said.
As for the classroom requirement, the governor said he was unsure how long it would remain in place.
"I hope it’s not something we’ve got to do for more than a month or two, but time will tell," he said. "COVID has its own timetable."
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Oregon’s announcement came just one day after its northern neighbor, Washington state, implemented its own statewide school worker vaccination requirement.
During a press conference, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee mandated all those working in the education system, including childcare, early learning, and higher education, receive a coronavirus vaccine.
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"It has been a long pandemic, and our students and teachers have borne their own unique burdens throughout," Inslee said. "This virus is increasingly impacting young people, and those under the age of 12 still can’t get the vaccine for themselves."
At the same press conference, Inslee announced all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a personal protective mask in public.