With a critical deadline approaching, Spokane Public Schools has yet to state what protection it will offer its 30,000 students from unvaccinated employees who have been granted exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccination.
However, the district has suggested that these unvaccinated workers may need to wear additional personal protective equipment.
About 350 district employees of Spokane Public Schools have filed requests for exemption from the mandate of Governor Jay Inslee, the district said on Friday.
About 350 others have not yet declared their intentions, a district spokesman confirmed.
Officially, employees have until October 18 to explain their intentions. However, you must have received the vaccine by Monday to be considered fully vaccinated by October 18.
At this point, the district must decide which accommodations to make available to employees whose applications for religious or medical exemptions are accepted.
When asked what action the district plans to take in response to requests for exemptions and then accommodation to keep her job, district communications director Sandra Jarrard emailed a brief reply on Friday: “An example of accommodation would be additional PPE requirements. “
Of the around 5,200 full and part-time employees in the district, around 3,800 are either vaccinated or have voluntarily given up their jobs.
The district has not disclosed how many of the unvaccinated workers seeking shelter are interacting face-to-face with teachers, students and staff.
The school district also did not disclose how many requests from staff for religious or medical exemptions were denied.
“Our HR department has worked hard to handle this process and we really want to do it on purpose,” said Swinyard.
Jeremy Shay, president of the Spokane Education Association, said this week that he has no complaints from members.
“It’s been going very well so far,” said Shay.
The exemption guidelines were released on August 18 by the state superintendent’s office.
The language places a heavy burden of proof on employers to reject requests for exemption.
It begins: “The state guidelines on religious accommodation encourage employers to assume that a worker’s request for religious accommodation is based on a sincere belief in a religion, unless the employer has a valid, objective reason to question the worker . “
The second paragraph ends with more ambiguity: “Moral or ethical beliefs about what is right and wrong, which are sincere with the power of traditional religious beliefs, may fit the definition of a sincere religious belief.”