COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for K–12 Employees
Dear MISD Families,
I write to share important information about vaccination requirements for the upcoming school year. Today, August 18, 2021, Governor Jay Inslee announced a new directive legally requiring all K–12 school district employees, contractors, vendors and volunteers to get a COVID-19 vaccination or submit a medical or religious exemption by mid-October.
This proclamation does not apply to students. The COVID-19 vaccine is not required for students; however, we know that a large percentage of our eligible students are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. When younger students are eligible (those under the age of 12), the District will once again look to partner with outside providers to make the COVID-19 vaccine even more accessible.
This announcement will not delay our return to school buildings this fall. Our first day of school will continue to be on September 1 for grades 1-12 and Sept. 3 for kindergarten.
Key elements of the Governor’s proclamation are outlined below:
- Mercer Island 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. 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. We are sharing this information so families understand some of the health and safety requirements in place for the 2021–22 school year.
We expect an update to the current guidance from the Department of Health. When we receive this you can expect continued updates on our reopening plans from both your child’s school as well as from the District as a whole.
Donna Colosky, Superintendent