Both Republican and Democrat legislators are frustrated with Governor Jay Inslee’s flawed COVID-19 vaccination plan, which they believe will keep Washington State schools closed for the remainder of the school year.
In a letter signed by the caucus leaders of both the Republicans (Senator John Braun and Representative JT Wilcox) and the Democrats (Senator Andy Billig and Speaker Laurie Jinkins) in the state House and Senate (the so-called “Four Corners”), the legislators urged the governor and Secretary of Health Umair Shah to revise the state’s vaccination plans to ensure all school personnel are vaccinated by the end of February, so students can return to the classroom.
Currently, the governor’s plan allows educators over the age of 50 to receive the vaccine in February, while those younger than 50 must wait until April to receive their first dose.
Even if the state’s vaccination plan stays on schedule (and that is a big “if” considering how poorly the Inslee Administration has thus far dispensed the vaccine), it would mean an overwhelming majority of school workers would not receive their second vaccination dose (and thus become protected from obtaining COVID) until May.
The letter from the four legislative leaders states “This is unacceptable.”
While Governor Inslee makes public remarks that he is supportive of parents who want schools to resume in-person instruction, his actions show that he is still under the thumb of the Washington Education Association and the union’s desire to keep schools closed this year unless massive financial concessions are granted its dues-paying members.