VIDEO: 2 weeks before school starts, governor announces vaccination requirements for education employees, plus statewide indoor mask mandate

2:38 PM: Two weeks from today, it’s the first day of school for many students in our state, including most Seattle Public Schools students. But while summer vacation is almost over, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. So today Gov. Inslee is having a media briefing about the pandemic response, joined by state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal and Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah, You can watch it above; we’ll add notes here as it goes.

2:42 PM: He’s expanding vaccination requirements among (updated) education employees.

He’s also ordering mask-wearing in indoor public settings, statewide, regardless of vaccination status, starting Monday, for Washington residents age 5+. This is because, Inslee declares, not enough people are getting vaccinated.

2:51 PM: Superintendent Reykdal says the vaccination requirements are necessary because they want to keep schools open. “If we do not do this and we have to shut schools down again this year … students are impacted and jobs are impacted.”

3:09 PM: In Q&A, Reykdal says yes, the vaccine requirement will apply to substitutes as well. And he reiterates that what’s making this necessary is the rapid spread of the Delta variant (now responsible for 98 percent of WA cases): “We’ve got to up our game … and we can’t have 30 percent of our team unvaccinated.”

3:12 PM: Here are full details of what the governor has just announced. He also warns, “This may not be the end of our efforts if this pandemic continues.” But: “We are hopeful that these measures will restrain the pandemic.”

3:17 PM: Secretary Shah adds that while there’s no outdoor-masking order, it’s “strongly recommended” to wear one if you are in a CROWDED outdoor setting.

74 Replies to "VIDEO: 2 weeks before school starts, governor announces vaccination requirements for education employees, plus statewide indoor mask mandate"

  • PSPS August 18, 2021 (3:09 pm)

    It’s about time.  It never should have been otherwise. It’s a disgrace how any effort is expended at all to coddle the deniers and others with political/nefarious motives.

    • North Delridge August 18, 2021 (3:35 pm)

      My “nefarious motive” is I want to work out at the gym unmasked.  They make you show your vaccine card to be able to do that.  80%+ of our eligible population is vaccinated.  What will be enough?

      • SunDevil August 18, 2021 (4:32 pm)

        And might I add, what are the numbers that will cause the new mandate to be dropped?

      • ttt August 18, 2021 (7:13 pm)

        In most counties of Washington state they are well below 80% vaccinated. Many of those people that live in Pierce County knows how much county etc. come up into Seattle to work. That is how it continued to be spread.

      • S.A. August 18, 2021 (9:16 pm)

        Have you heard that vaccinated people can acquire and transmit the virus, and can get sick? A student of mine was in bed for a week – fully vaccinated, not “go to the hospital” sick, not “wind up dying on a ventilator” sick, but really, really sick. My partner had a heart attack last year and goes to a rehab center to do supervised workouts. You can bet everyone there wears a mask to exercise. Put yours on, or exercise outside while the weather is still good. Don’t catch Delta, don’t transmit it to vulnerable others.

    • WestSide August 18, 2021 (4:28 pm)

      PSPS- haha nefarious motives?  You mean getting back to normal? I trust the science that because of low vaccination rates and the delta variant, we just aren’t there yet.  When it comes to nefarious motives, however, it’s mostly affluent liberals fear-mongering so they can keep working from home.

      • helpermonkey August 19, 2021 (8:35 am)

        Congratulations, that is easily the dumbest conspiracy theory I’ve heard about this virus, that it is being driven by  “affluent liberals who want to work from home”. I mean, my hat is just off to you, Westside. That is some A-level stuff right there. 

        • Pupsarebest August 19, 2021 (11:32 am)

          Because GQP people hate working from home, everyone knows that. 

        • sam-c August 19, 2021 (3:39 pm)

          BHA- HA HA HA HA HA HA – that conspiracy theory is very funny

    • The King August 18, 2021 (8:12 pm)

      You still think they’re deniers? I’m not anti vax, denier or any of that but it feels like a govt overreach to mandate an unapproved drug. I actually got my first shot in March, ended up with a doctors visit, Bell’s palsy, vision that wouldn’t focus, high blood pressure and light sensitivity. Finally mostly getting back to normal but scary business. The left side of my face still isn’t right but what do you do, especially when a nurse and doctor mitigate or dismiss it as coincidental. It happened immediately. I’m Native American so maybe my blood isn’t wired like yours but part of the US vaccine history has been taking child bearing age Native American women and giving them shots to make them infertile, by way of coercion or the woman not even knowing. Hell this was going on in my lifetime. Don’t be so judgmental, some of us know our history. 

  • JamesJ August 18, 2021 (3:14 pm)

    ” This is because, Inslee declares, not enough people are getting vaccinated.” Right, so punish all of us that did the right thing and got vaccinated too?

    • Elton August 18, 2021 (4:15 pm)

      Delta variant is being transmitted even among the vaccinated. Though your viral load is lower and you’re pretty unlikely to have a serious illness from a breakthrough infection, it doesn’t mean you’re invincible or unable to affect others just because you’re vaccinated. Until the Delta variant is under control, masking makes sense, as inconvenient as it is. Until all children can be safely vaccinated, the inconsiderate people who are medically able to get vaccinated and are not continue to put our community and our children at risk, it’s a sad reality that is increasing the occupancy at Seattle Children’s.

      • Rara August 18, 2021 (8:02 pm)

        I think more people will get vaccinated when it’s FDA approved. That I think is a big hang up for people. I feel like this is spreading rapidly not only because of the new variant but because the masks came off. They aren’t 100% effective I know but they help. And hand washing is very important. Stay safe all. I’m just staying out of the public as much as possible right now. Let’s hope this dies down soon like the Spanish flu did. My kid has been sick with fevers 3 times in 6 months. Other stuff is still going around. Tough couple of years. 

    • Mark Schletty August 18, 2021 (6:34 pm)

      My wife and I are fully vaccinated since March. I came into direct contact with an unvaccinated person last week. Turns out he already had covid without knowing it and infected me. I then infected my wife before we knew I had been exposed. Now both of us have it, as apparently do others he was in contact with.  We are feeling miserable, but not bad enough for hospital.  Wear masks. Get vaccinated. Don’t be selfish. This is still spreading fast. And you can get it.

    • VaccinatedAndFedUp August 18, 2021 (6:42 pm)

      I’m torn between just letting anti-vaxxers get COVID and deal with it, and the hospitals getting overwhelmed and denying me or my family medical care if we have an emergency because every bed is filled up with COVID patients. Its maddening this is still a thing because people think they know more than scientists, doctors and common sense. 

      • Rhonda August 18, 2021 (10:21 pm)

        The scientists said vaccinated people couldn’t transmit COVID, but they were wrong. It’s been unmasked vaccinated people who stopped social distancing who have spread delta everywhere, not masked unvaccinated people. Likewise, ICUs all over the world have vaccinated people on ventilators. Dropping the mask mandates for vaccinated people was a deadly mistake.

        • JohnW August 19, 2021 (7:35 am)

          Wonder where Rhonda gets information?

    • Still masking August 18, 2021 (8:11 pm)

      For another perspective, I’m vaccinated, and don’t view mask mandates as a punishment. It seems a reasonable and helpful action at this time during a pandemic. Would totally agree though that covid sucks and it was nice when we didn’t have to wear masks, and I know this is harder for some than others, and appreciate people doing their part and staying strong.

  • AdmiralE August 18, 2021 (3:27 pm)

    Didn’t work last time so let’s do it again

  • Jort August 18, 2021 (3:32 pm)

    It’s nice to have a Governor that cares about the lives of his state’s citizens, rather than intentionally and purposefully sacrificing children to die in order to virtue signal their conservative credentials. Republican “values” like “local control” and “business freedom” are cast away without a thought in places like Texas, where the Governor prohibits local school districts from requiring masks and threatens to take liquor licenses from bars that require vaccinations. All of this virtue signaling just to be sure that conservatives never have to admit they and their moron President were ever wrong about COVID. Here in Washington, you’re gonna put that mask right back on and let me tell you, you will deal with it. 

    • kim August 18, 2021 (7:07 pm)

      Agree–completely.  And, what’s with this teachers have until October 18th?  No school staff member should be around students until vaccinated.  We’ve had the opportunity since April.  What is the reason for extending the mandate for another two months?

      • rpo August 19, 2021 (4:04 pm)

        I agree. Give them a month. That’s enough time to get both doses. If that cannot be comprehended, enjoy unemployment.

    • Brian August 18, 2021 (8:08 pm)

      This mask mandate should have happened like three weeks ago. Don’t carry water for Inslee when it isn’t warranted. 

  • BT August 18, 2021 (4:12 pm)

    PSPS- haha nefarious motives?  You mean getting back to normal? I trust the science that because of low vaccination rates and the delta variant, we just aren’t there yet.When it comes to nefarious motives, however, it’s mostly affluent liberals fear-mongering so they can keep working from home.

    • Brian August 18, 2021 (8:09 pm)

      As someone who hasn’t been to work (virtually or otherwise) in over 16 months so I can take care of my children I’m here to tell you you’re 100% mistaken. 

    • sam-c August 19, 2021 (3:49 pm)

      It looks like Westside has an alternate name, or is BT just repeating someone else’s lines?

  • TJ August 18, 2021 (4:16 pm)

    Hey PSPS, I’m 49 and not vaccinated, and not because of any “political/nefarious motives”. It seems like the ones wanting mask mandates and nanny government are those who are vaccinated. Two weeks to slow the curve, that’s what government said last March when we were shut down, and here we are still tripping over this after being told last summer Covid wasn’t going away. I don’t care if 75% of people were vaccinated nationally, there will be another variant after Delta that they will be talking about and moving the goal posts on this. Bottom line is if you are vaccinated you are good, and if not vaccinated then it’s on you (me).

    • Rara August 18, 2021 (10:28 pm)

      My niece and her family got it and her kids are two and four years old. The kids were up and running in two days like nothing happened. Clearly too young to get the vaccine yet. They’ve been living in a bubble and still got it. My sister did too who got it from them. I surely thought this would be a death sentence for her since she’s been smoking since she was 11 and she is 52 now. I know it’s very controversial but they took ivermectin. Symptoms started clearing up in two hours. I’m happy to report they are all doing great. They never went to the doctor or the emergency room. But Covid test was positive I know nobody believes in that ivermectin but somebody should seriously do some studies on it. There have been a few studies but not enough   I have a feeling the pharmaceutical companies don’t want to give it any weight because it’s cheap to get and they are not making any money off of it. Who knows, all I know is that it worked for my family. I am grateful that they are safe. I wonder what the percentage of people are that they are not counting who have already had Covid and have the antibodies? Those people clearly are counted as not having vaccines yet and how do they know all of the population? I mean they clearly aren’t going door to door. Some people are off the grid. 

      • Canton August 19, 2021 (12:01 am)

        Agree completely. Other countries that don’t have access to the vaccine are using other methods of treatment that are greatly cost effective. Still trying to figure out why antibody testing isn’t part of the factor. Someone with the antibodies, is just the same as someone vaccinated, just done naturally. Whether you have vaccine or antibodies, you can still be carrier. Why can’t Inslee stick around after press conferences to answer the multitude of questions about his mandates?

        • WSB August 19, 2021 (12:15 am)

          He did stick around and usually does. In the video, the Q&A starts at 29 minutes in and lasts more than half an hour.

      • Brian August 19, 2021 (7:28 am)

        To be absolutely clear, you ingested de-worming pills meant for farm animals and are touting it as a cure-all. Absolutely bananas comment you got here. 

  • Bandana August 18, 2021 (4:43 pm)

    A 3rd dose of Pfizer or Moderna is set to begin next month. Will mass vaccination sites return to West Seattle or Lumen Field? Hospitals, pharmacies and supermarkets may be overwhelmed by the demand for vaccinations.

    • Scarlett Addams August 19, 2021 (8:02 am)

      Probably won’t be overwhelmed,  since you must be 8 months after your initial vaccination to be eligible for the booster shot.  I won’t be eligible till mid December

  • Scubafrog August 18, 2021 (4:48 pm)

    That’s fantastic – months, even years late.  But fantastic.  WA governor’s will NEVER win the hearts of the right.  Always focus on the GDP/Population centers.  Eastern WA sans Spokane, with the exception of some great minds, just doesn’t care about vaccines/masks nor a Pandemic.  Whilst republicans are out infecting America, maskless and intoxicated on Pabst with pockets full of blue state welfare money, it’s up to us to Mandate with the backing of Intellectuals/Science/Ethics/Law what’s best for them.  Lest they kill all of us.

  • James August 18, 2021 (4:51 pm)

    WSB commentary treating hospitalizations, mass disabling of populations, and death as a partisan issue is amoral, but not surprising given the hyper-individualism of Americans is what will prolong this pandemic for years. 

    • Pessoa August 19, 2021 (4:12 pm)

      Oddly enough, James, it wasn’t partisan until you brought “partisan” into the conversation, like others who decry the politicization of the virus but are the first to bring it up. As far as individualism, you should be thankful that it is still alive, though barely.

  • onion August 18, 2021 (5:38 pm)

    Now they need to apply the same ultimatum to one of the highest paid government employees in the state, the Washington State football coach. Get vaccinated or get out.

    • teacher August 18, 2021 (7:15 pm)

      This applies to college as well, doesn’t it?

  • Mj August 18, 2021 (5:42 pm)

    JamesJ – my sentiments exactly. 

    North Delridge  – if you’re a member of a Private club that nots Public there in no mandate to mask from my read.  And agree 85% vaccination rate, what more. 

    Being penalized due to unvaccinated people is not fair.  Maybe it’s time to make the adults choosing to not get vaccinated take ownership of the choice and pay for their own medical costs if the get sick.

  • Grace August 18, 2021 (5:46 pm)

    Has anyone heard if there’s an exception to the mask mandate for musicians while they are on stage? I know there is an exception for athletes while they are playing, even indoors. But they have to wear a mask on the bench. Musicians are just getting back to work this summer and unemployment is about to run out so hopefully there’s an exception in place. 

  • Jeepney August 18, 2021 (5:58 pm)

    Good!  Too bad so many people are followers of politicians that could care less about them.  Wear the mask and get the shots, so we can enjoy our lives again.  Not really that demanding…….

  • Ly August 18, 2021 (6:16 pm)

    Why October 18th? School starts first week of September.

  • StopCuttingDownTrees August 18, 2021 (6:52 pm)

    Inslee was WAY too premature in dropping his indoor mask mandate. Biden pulled the same stunt and announced on national T.V. that everyone who’s vaccinated can run around without one indoors. Now we have Delta being spread like wildfire from tens of millions of fully-vaccinated, unmasked people nationwide. Both Biden and Inslee were blaming the Delta spread on the unvaccinated while giving carte blanche for vaccinated people to infect millions. Now Inslee is letting 5 more days go by for unmasked yahoos to spread their savila and mucus.

    • Jort August 18, 2021 (9:45 pm)

      Biden and Inslee had faith that people would do the right thing and wear their mask if they chose not to be vaccinated. It would appear that trust was highly misplaced and abused, as those who refuse to be vaccinated decided instead to become contagious, diseased vectors, spreading their mutating viruses all over society and making our pandemic worse every day. I suppose it was, indeed, wrong for Joe Biden and Jay Inslee to trust people to do the right thing. Perhaps, in the future, they’ll not feel the need to trust the maturity and decision-making of anti-social individualists again. Now, these people will put on the mask or they will get the shot, and they will deal with it.

    • S.A. August 19, 2021 (12:05 pm)

      It’s… amazing how you’re trying to lay this at the feet of Inslee and Biden, instead of the people spreading falsehoods about the vaccine and masks and COVID itself, the people buying into those falsehoods, the political operatives whipping that up to the advantage of their candidates and party and pocketbooks, etc.

  • Sarge August 18, 2021 (7:31 pm)

    Bravo, Governor!  

  • Pessoa August 18, 2021 (9:12 pm)

    Per The Washington Post (August 13th) the national hospitalizaton rate for children was 3.6 per million. With the King County robust vaccination compliance, one had to believe it is even lower here.  Think about that extremely small number, and now consider the overreaction from our governor who seems to have succumbed to pressure. After making a bold move to open up, the governor us taking us backwards into fear and paranoia. Some of us feast on these emotions – misery lives company – but most of us want to live productive, contented lives.  

    • WSB August 18, 2021 (9:32 pm)

      Here are the King County stats – follow the Demographics tab and then choose Hospitalized cases.

      0-9 years old, 70 hospitalizations, 27 in 100,000
      10-19 years oldm, 110 hospitalizations, 43 in 100,000

      • Pessoa August 19, 2021 (12:25 pm)

        Thanks, trying to reconcile the two data sets.  The King County .03% hospitalization among 0-9 years of age, confirmed or probable, seems to more in line with what I expected.  

    • Jort August 18, 2021 (9:43 pm)

      I’m sorry, does wearing a mask in a store prevent you from living a “productive, contented” life? Because, if so … good lord man I am so sorry for you. Just so, so sorry for you. Wow. Truly wow. I encourage you to talk to the parent of a child dying of covid and tell them they live in fear and paranoia. Make sure you’re not wearing a mask when you say it, too. You know, for your “productivity” and “contentment.”

    • Ivan Weiss August 19, 2021 (9:09 am)

      It appears that some people have not yet grasped that the virus is indifferent to their beliefs or their priorities. The virus doesn’t give a damn what you regard as “fear and paranoia,” or your desire for a “productive and contented life.” To the virus, all you are is a host.

  • Anne August 18, 2021 (9:53 pm)

    Why even start school in September if staff have until October 18 to be fully vaccinated? What sense does that make?

  • Grace August 18, 2021 (10:27 pm)

    Uhg…. All of the guidance that has come out today neglects to mention an exemption for MUSICIANS on stage. Such an exemption has been in place in other states, and in under some last mask mandates in Washington. But the language only mentions athletes. I have a half dozen dear friends and family that are full-time musicians, and sing as part of their act — wearing a mask is not reasonable on stage. If anyone sees more guidance, please share! So frustrating how these policies are put into place without consideration for an entire industry of livelihoods. 

    • bolo August 19, 2021 (10:39 am)

      Might have to go to a ball game and see if the singer who sings the National Anthem is wearing a mask?

    • Pessoa August 19, 2021 (12:55 pm)

      The shut downs literally crushed the lives and livelihoods of thousands and thousands of those in the performing arts.  The toll both psychological and financially is incalculable.   Even amateur musicians, for which performing was a joyful part of their life, have suffered immensely.  Now, performers and audiences are back to masks.  I’m not sure most people really grasp the utter destruction this pandemic has caused.  

  • flimflam August 18, 2021 (10:56 pm)

    This is getting to the point where, pardon the analogy, the entire team has to run laps because a few doofuses can’t get the snap count right. Except here it’s on purpose.

    • Grace August 18, 2021 (11:00 pm)

      Hilarious. And on point.  😂

    • S.A. August 19, 2021 (12:11 pm)

      Masks aren’t punishment. And framing them as such is really unhelpful. They’re a way we all help each other. They’re like seatbelts, and car insurance, and standing in an orderly line, and holding doors for one another, and returning shopping carts. They’re practical but they’re also a part of mutual assistance.

  • So over all of it August 19, 2021 (12:59 am)

    The zip codes in West Seattle; as you the blog post now every week, we have some of the highest vaccination percentages in the country!!! I am in 98136, which I believe at last look was near 80%! I don’t know what # we are supposed to be at for “herd immunity,” but I would think around 80% is about as close as you can get. I mean I got nothing but  a daughter with way more smarts than I.  Double majors from UW w/emphasis on Chemistry, Public Health & Infectious Diseases. I am more likely to listen to her because I know she doesn’t have an agenda and I can trust her and she is way smarter than anyone I know!

  • Chris K August 19, 2021 (7:25 am)

    I could not be more proud of my governor.  Vaccine refusers should be rounded up and quarantined until all of the blows over, no questions asked.

    • Anna August 19, 2021 (3:45 pm)

      Like, put in camps?

  • anonyme August 19, 2021 (7:34 am)

    Where is there currently a testing site in West Seattle?

  • Concerned Neighbor August 19, 2021 (12:24 pm)

     Oh for god’s sake, just do the right thing people!  Get vaccinated.  It isn’t going to hurt you, but it damn well could help someone else.  We were able to eradicate polio, measles, etc… by vaccines.  Let’s just get this done already.  The reason it still “is”, is due to those who are just plain obstinate.  And to those who do not vaccinate, then reap what you sow.  No complaining about remote school, etc…  You’re the ones keeping this going.  Unfortunately, those of you who don’t vaccinate… it doesn’t just affect you.  It affects those who don’t deserve it.  Think about those people, not just your self

    • Anna August 19, 2021 (1:51 pm)

      Measles and polio are not coronaviruses and do not rapidly evolve like coronaviruses do. They are more stable, so I don’t know that the comparison is apt. 

  • Pessoa August 19, 2021 (12:47 pm)

    It is offensive and small-minded to attribute all vaccine hesitancy to tin-foil hat conspiracy thinking, or the unsophisticated “rubes” out in the swaths of middle America.  For many this is the case, but not for all.   One can’t pass off documented cases of blood clotting, or heart inflammation among young teens, or Guillen-Barre, to a figment of anyone’s imagination.  They are extremely rare as I have argued in the past, but yes, but they are real.   You may disagree with those who refuse to be vaccinated on these grounds, but you are merely arguing that your assessment of risk is superior to that of someone else.  And now we are entering a dangerous stage where we are forcing – de facto – some to accept this risk else they will not be able to participate in society.  Can a government require it?  Legally, perhaps.  But then we get into the very muddy ethical water of a government forcing someone to do something against their personal conscience, something that may not be as terrible as drafting civilians to fight in an unpopular war, but certainly no small thing.  

  • Mj August 19, 2021 (2:31 pm)

    S.A. – one of the main reasons I got vaccinated was to ditch the mask, so YES forcing masks on vaccinated people IS punishment.  The CDC guidelines do not require vaccinated people to wear a mask except for transit, healthcare settings.  85% vaccination rate of eligible people where I live, when does it stop?

    • S.A. August 19, 2021 (3:50 pm)

      Me too.  AND, the virus doesn’t care. It out-evolved us because of global inequalities and national lies and politics. So we can be frustrated and disappointed about it, and still need to take precautions like masks to do what we can to answer your “when does it stop??” question.  The virus doesn’t care how we feel. It just wants hosts, and it figured out how to recruit all of us, even vaccinated ones.

      • Pessoa August 20, 2021 (9:30 am)

        S.A: You are evading a legitimate question that has been posed: When does it end? This is not an empty rhetorical flourish, but at at the center of this debate, and how much risk we are to accept as a society, and the other costs that come with it. Strangely enough, it is not only individualists who are determining the fate of others, but collectivists who do in the name of the “public good.” 

    • rpo August 19, 2021 (4:16 pm)

      It stops when enough people are vaccinated that community spread does not overwhelm our hospitals…which is happening RIGHT NOW.  If hospitals are overwhelmed because there is so much community spread (among the vaccinated and unvaccinated), then the rest of us that are vaccinated cannot get care when needed. The vaccinated are still spreading this virus, so wearing masks still helps everyone. Look at the wait times for ambulances trying to drop off patients at hospitals in Florida, Mississippi, and some other states now. There was an ambulance that reported going to multiple hospitals and still waiting 4 hours to intake a stroke victim in Florida because they have no space due to the # of covid patients. Let’s not be like Florida. Let’s use some common sense.

Sorry, comment time is over.