Delaware teachers and other school staffers must get a COVID-19 vaccine or undergo weekly testing.
Gov. John Carney, a Democrat, and state health and education officials announced the mandate on Tuesday.
The requirement will be formally laid out in an emergency regulation and is slated to take effect Nov. 1. It applies to over 12,000 people who work in K–12 schools.
“There’s no better way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and keep all Delaware children in their classrooms, than to get vaccinated,” Carney said in a statement. “Our top priority has been to get all Delaware students back in school this fall. This new requirement will help keep them there and prevent regular disruptions to their learning. These vaccines are safe and extremely protective against COVID-19 infection and serious illness. I encourage all Delawareans to get your shot and help us finally put an end to this pandemic.”
The Delaware State Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, said it backs the mandate.
Stephanie Ingram, president of the union, said its goal is to keep educators and students in school while protecting their health.
“To that end, we support the Governor’s decision for all school employees to get vaccinated or submit to testing. All scientific evidence shows us that this vaccine is effective and prevents the risk of transmission while lessening the symptoms if the disease is transmitted. So, we urge our members to get vaccinated,” Ingram said in a statement.
She called the weekly testing option “a reasonable alternative” for workers who don’t want to get a shot at this time.
Workers and students are already required to wear masks in schools, regardless of their vaccination status.
Several states, including Oregon, have imposed COVID-19 vaccine mandates on school workers without a weekly testing opt-out. Others, including Delaware and Connecticut, are letting teachers not get vaccinated. Those who aren’t must get tested on a weekly basis.
Still others, including Alabama, have prohibited districts from requiring teachers to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.