WASHINGTON - National Education Association President Becky Pringle issued the following statement today announcing NEA’s support for requirements that all educators receive a COVID-19 vaccination or submit to regular COVID-19 testing.
“No one wants to be back in the classroom with their students more than educators, and student safety is our number one priority. NEA has said from the beginning that we need to follow the science, and evidence shows that COVID-19 vaccines, combined with other safety measures, are the most powerful weapon we have against the pandemic. Educators’ belief in the essential role vaccines play in the safety of our school communities is evidenced by the nearly 90 percent of NEA members who report that they are fully vaccinated.
“As we enter a new school year amidst a rapidly spreading Delta variant and lagging public vaccination rates, it is clear that the vaccination of those eligible is one of the most effective ways to keep schools safe, and they must be coupled with other proven mitigation strategies. Appropriate employee accommodations must be provided, and paid leave and readily available sites should be available for vaccinations. Employee input, including collective bargaining where applicable, is critical.
“We also support regular COVID-19 testing in lieu of vaccination for those not yet vaccinated or those for whom vaccination is not medically appropriate or effective. We believe that such vaccine requirements and accommodations are an appropriate, responsible, and necessary step to ensure the safety of our school communities and to protect our students.
“In order to ensure that students and educators are able to enjoy safe, uninterrupted, in-person education, educators must have a voice in how vaccine requirements are implemented. Educators must also continue to play an active role in developing other mitigation systems—including testing, tracing, masking, distancing, hand washing, ventilation, cleaning, and disinfection."
Visit www.nea.org/vaxtoschool for information and resources to help educators and parents make an informed decision about how best to protect our students.
# # #
The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at nea.org.
- Celeste Busser