The following is a copy of a message emailed to all OSD staff on August 18, 2021 explaining Gov. Jay Inslee’s directive requiring all K-12 school district employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination or a medical or religious exemption by October 18, 2021 as a condition of employment.
If you are looking for a COVID-19 vaccine locally, visit the Thurston County Public Health and Social Services website for a list of dates, times and locations.
Message emailed to OSD employees on August 18, 2021:
Hello Olympia School District employees,
Today Gov. Jay Inslee announced a new directive legally requiring all K–12 school district employees to get a COVID-19 vaccination or a medical or religious exemption by October 18, 2021 as a condition of employment.
Gov. Inslee also expanded a statewide mask mandate to all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, indoors in public settings. This mandate takes effect Monday, August 23, 2021.
The Governor’s directive means that all Olympia School District employees, contractors, volunteers and others working in school facilities will be required to be fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021.
Some of the key elements of today’s proclamation are:
- Olympia 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 request an exemption if they cannot meet the requirement due to a medical or religious reason. A religious exemption will not require medical consultation or proof of an organized religious affiliation. It will be an attestation and signature from the employee related to a religious belief, practice or observance, according to information shared today by the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). We will provide more information about this process as soon as we have more details.
- There is not an option to undergo regular testing for COVID-19 instead of receiving a vaccination or exemption.
- Employees who are vaccinated will need to provide proof of vaccination. Attestation is not an allowable substitute for vaccination. We will provide more information about this soon.
- The information employees provide regarding vaccination will be a confidential record.
- Vaccination is a condition of employment in the proclamation. If you do not provide proof of full vaccination or obtain a medical or religious exemption by October 18, 2021, you will be separated from employment via non-disciplinary dismissal due to no longer meeting the qualifications of your position.
- This proclamation does not include vaccine requirements for students. It also does not replace the current requirement for all students, staff and visitors to wear face coverings in schools and on school buses.
Our district’s goal of safely providing full-time in-person learning for students in the 2021-22 school year remains the same. This announcement will not delay our return to school buildings this fall, and unvaccinated employees should continue to come to work while in the process of becoming fully vaccinated.
For more information on today’s announcement, visit the OSPI website for a list of Frequently Asked Questions.