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    Superintendent Juneau Advocates for January Vaccination of Select Educators and School-based Staff
    Posted on 01/09/2021
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    On January 8, 2021, Superintendent Denise Juneau sent a letter to Governor Jay Inslee, Dr. Umair Shah, Washington secretary of health, and Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, health officer for Public Health-Seattle & King County, to advocate for January vaccination of educators and school-based staff.

    Read Superintendent Denise Juneau's letter below.

     

    January 8, 2021

    The Honorable Jay Inslee
    Governor of the Great State of Washington

    Dr. Umair Shah
    Secretary of Health for the State of Washington

    Dr. Jeffrey Duchin
    Health Officer for Public Health-Seattle & King County

    Dear Governor Inslee, Secretary Shah, and Dr. Duchin,

    On December 17, the Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors approved an in-person reopening plan for PreK, Kindergarten, and first grade students, as well as students receiving intensive special education services and students who require in-person services to meet goals outlined in their Individual Educational Plan (IEP). Staff across the district are preparing our schools, providing the required PPE training, and starting to negotiate new working conditions with the Seattle Education Association (SEA). We plan to provide in-person instruction to our approximately 10,000 students beginning on March 1.

    This decision aligns with Challenge Seattle’s request on November 19, 2020. Their letter to you outlined a six-point recovery plan for what they believe are short-term and longer-term needs. One of the points states, "Commit to a plan to reopen schools in January if COVID rates fall . . . This can lay the foundation for the even broader work that will be needed to address the learning loss of our state’s students, with an emphasis on those disproportionately impacted." However, observing and working with other urban districts across the country and knowing that we need to put as many safeguards in place to provide in-person learning, it is imperative that our educators, school leaders, and school-based staff are vaccinated.

    I am requesting that ALL Pre-K through first grade and special education educators who will provide in-person instruction, our school principals and assistant principals, as well as the SAEOP (Seattle Association of Educational Office Professionals), nutrition, security, and custodial staff who have been and will continue to serve our students in buildings, move to Phase 1 B1 and allow this group of educators and staff to receive their vaccines this month. It does not make sense to have an age limit of "over 50" for educational professionals. Our top priority must be to keep our staff, students, and communities physically safe, as well as mentally and academically healthy. Prioritizing vaccinations for public educators and critical support staff will send a strong message of the state's commitment to public education and care for our public educators in a time when so much is uncertain. This action will help build trust in our collective commitment to recovery.

    I would also like to offer Seattle Public Schools buildings to health care providers to administer vaccines to SPS staff and the larger community. Please let me know how I can support these much-needed efforts.

    Thank you for your consideration, continued support, and understanding of the true value of public education in this state and the nation.

    With respect,
    Denise Juneau, Superintendent
    Seattle Public Schools

    CC: Chris Gregoire, CEO, Challenge Seattle