The country’s largest teachers’ union on Thursday offered its support for policies that require all teachers to be vaccinated against Covid or take regular testing.
It’s the latest in a rapid series of shifts that could make large-scale vaccine requirements for educators more likely as the highly contagious delta variant spreads in the United States.
“It is clear that vaccination is one of the most effective ways to keep schools safe,” Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, said in a statement.
The announcement comes after Randy Weingarten, the powerful leader of the American Teachers Association, another major educational federation, pointed out her Strongest support yet for vaccine mandates on Sunday.
Ms Pringle left open the possibility that teachers who were not vaccinated could receive regular tests instead, adding that “local staff input, including collective bargaining where appropriate, is critical”.
Her union’s support for certain requirements is noteworthy because it represents about three million members across the country, including in many rural and suburban areas where adults are less likely to be vaccinated. Overall, the union said, nearly 90 percent of its members reported being fully vaccinated.
However, any decision to request vaccination will likely come to educators at the local or state level. Even with their increased support, teachers’ unions have emphasized that local chapters must negotiate the details.
“We believe these vaccine requirements and amenities are an appropriate, responsible and necessary step,” Ms Pringle said on Thursday. “Educators should have a say in how the vaccine requirements are implemented,” she added.
California has Command All teachers and staff must provide proof of vaccination or face a weekly test, which applies to both public and private schools. Hawaii require All state and county employees are vaccinated or tested, including public school teachers. Denver He said City employees, including public school teachers, must be fully vaccinated by September 30.