Bainbridge Island School District Superintendent Peter Bang-Knudsen said Wednesday that he and staff are elated about President Biden and Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement that school employees are now a priority for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Biden announced plans to vaccinate all K-12 school employees as quickly as possible — with the goal of getting at least one dose by the end of March.Inslee followed suit by moving educators and childcare workers to the state’s Phase 1B, Tier 1 effective immediately.
“The good news is that schools will be able to open and we are pleased that teachers will be back in the classroom,” Inslee said in a statement. “This should give educators more confidence to return to in-person learning and that it can be done with the safety protocols that are being used by 1,400 other schools in our state right now.”
Bang-Knudsen said: “Many staff members have already started signing up for vaccinations and are deeply appreciative of this opportunity. We are grateful for our community partners who have quickly developed plans to provide on-site vaccination clinics for district employees. A special thank you to those who advocated at both the state and national levels for school employee vaccinations.”
An OSPI news release says about 36 percent of Washington students are receiving some or all of their learning in-person.
“We expect this priority on vaccinations for school employees will speed up the timeline for many districts who are working to begin or expand in-person learning,” OSPI Superintendent Chris Reykdal said. “The data and research show that if schools follow all health and safety requirements, they can safely reopen without widespread vaccination within the school community. However, like President Biden, we know vaccination of school employees is an additional layer of protection that will provide comfort to staff, students, and families.”
Additionally, Biden said that by May, the U.S. will have enough vaccine availability for any adult who chooses to get the shot.