I am writing to share information about a new legal requirement for school employees in Washington state. On August 18, 2021, Governor Jay Inslee announced a new directive legally requiring all K–12 school district employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination or a medical or religious exemption by mid-October.
This proclamation does not apply to students. The COVID-19 vaccine is not required for students. The proclamation also does not replace the requirement for all staff and students to wear masks or face coverings in schools and on school buses.
Please note that this announcement will not delay our return to school buildings this fall. Our first day of school will continue to be on Tuesday, September 7, 2021.
Some of the key elements of the proclamation are outlined below:
- Skamania School District and our Board of Directors do not have local control over this matter. We are legally required to follow the Governor’s directive. Employees may obtain a medical or religious exemption.
- There is not an option to undergo regular testing for COVID-19 instead of receiving a vaccination or exemption.
- Employees will need to provide proof of vaccination. Attestation is not an allowable substitute for vaccination.
- Vaccination is a condition of employment in the proclamation. Only a medical or religious exemption will substitute for the vaccine requirement.
Again, this proclamation does not include vaccine requirements for students. We are sharing this information so families understand some of the health and safety requirements in place for the 2021–22 school year.
Dr. Ralph Pruitt, Superintendent