Vaccinations will be required for teachers, staff, volunteers in K-12 schools statewide

The Banks School District. Photo: Chas Hundley

All teachers, staff, and volunteers in K-12 schools statewide will be required to become fully vaccinated, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced today during a press conference. 

Vaccines will be required by October 18 or six weeks after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gives full approval of one of the coronavirus vaccines, whichever is later, the governor said. 

The first day of school for some students in the district is August 31, according to the Banks School District 2021-22 calendar.

The FDA is expected to fully approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine in early fall, President Joe Biden previously said. 

Brown also removed the option for regular testing in lieu of a vaccine for hospital workers, who must be fully vaccinated in the same timeframe. 

“We need every single healthcare worker healthy, and able to treat patients,” Brown said. 

“Our health care system is on the verge of collapse in parts of the state,” Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen said. 

“We set another new record for ICU patients as of this morning,” Allen said. “845 Oregonians are hospitalized with COVID-19, and 226 are in intensive care, two more than yesterday.”

The new vaccine requirements come as the state’s hospital system struggles to keep up with the load of cases driven by the surge in the Delta variant of the coronavirus. 

Brown said that she had directed the Oregon Health Authority to create a rule to require vaccines for the adults teaching, volunteering, and working in other positions in schools, 

Children under 12 are not currently eligible to receive a vaccine against the virus that causes COVID-19. 

Brown urged those in schools to wear masks and get vaccinated, and to speak with their doctor or primary care provider to get answers about the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Several vaccination clinics have been scheduled in Banks for August and September with incentives like $50 gift cards to Jim’s Market for those receiving their first dose.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available. 

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Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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