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OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday announced that all teachers and some child care providers must be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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At a news conference, Inslee said the requirement extends to teachers from kindergarten to 12th grade and higher education employees.

There will be no option for regular COVID-19 tests instead of vaccination, Inslee said.

Inslee also expanded the state’s existing indoor mask mandate to include all people regardless of vaccination status, KIRO-TV reported. The mask mandate goes into effect on Monday, the television station reported.

According to KIRO, the educator vaccine requirement applies to:

  • K-12 educators, school staff, coaches, bus drivers, school volunteers and others working in school facilities
  • Employees in higher education institutions
  • Child care and early learning providers who serve children from multiple households

Unions may bargain for time off to receive the vaccine or recover from symptoms, according to the governor’s office.

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There will be exemptions for employees who need medical or religious accommodations, the Spokesman-Review of Spokane reported.

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Nearly 150 million people nationwide, or 51%, have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with either of the vaccines, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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