At Biden’s direction, state promises all school employees ‘at least one dose of vaccine this month’

Gov. Jay Inslee visits Phantom Lake Elementary School in the Bellevue School District, March 2, 2021. The visit came the same day Inslee announced Washingotn school workers would be prioritized for the coronavirus vaccine, at a directive from President Joe Biden.(Office of the Governor)

OLYMPIA — Citing President Joe Biden’s directive to prioritize teachers and school staff for COVID-19 vaccinations, Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal announed Tuesday “school employees in every region of the state will have access to at least one dose of the vaccine this month.”

That’s in keeping with Biden’s directive, which comes on the heels of news that the U.S. will have stockpiled enough of the three approved COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate every American adult by the end of May.

With the presidential order, Gov. Jay Inslee added school staff and licensed childcare workers to those eligible in the current vaccination Phase 1B tier. The current group includes all people 65 years and older, plus those 50 and older who live in multigenerational households. 

“The good news is that schools will be able to open and we are pleased that teachers will be back in the classroom very soon,” 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.”

“We continue to work with Kaiser Permanente and we are pleased our ‘Get Ready’ plan will be ready to move forward,” said Reykdal, whose office has been planning for school-oriented vaccine distribution for the last few months. “Local partnerships in other areas of the state have already been established.”