SEATTLE — Equitably and safely vaccinating Washington state educators and school staff is the goal of the new ‘Get Ready’ plan announced by Chris Reykdal, state schools superintendent, and Susan Mullaney, regional president for Kaiser Permanente in Washington. The plan is designed to be launch-ready when personnel become eligible under Washington state’s vaccination protocols, and will focus on supporting a safe return to school for communities across the state and ensures a commitment to fairness, equity, and consistency in the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Keeping our educators and school staff safe is very important to me,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “This announcement does not allow educators to move ahead in the current prioritization, it means when it is their turn, we are ready to move ahead. I’m excited about today’s announcement and look forward to working with Superintendent Reykdal, Kaiser Permanente, and our labor partners as we continue our efforts to make sure our educators and school staff have rapid and equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they are eligible.”
The announced plan will include approximately 14 to 20 vaccination locations along the I-5 corridor and in Spokane, which will be capable of offering vaccinations to upwards of 80% of school employees. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and Department of Health are additionally planning further efforts to define potential sites more proximate to Central Washington school employees.
“Knowing we needed a plan for vaccinating our 143,000 school employees, my first call was to Susan Mullaney and the Kaiser Permanente team,” said State Superintendent Chris Reykdal. “Although our schools are already reopening safely without widespread vaccinations, we know this will expedite that process and ultimately benefit our students, their families, our educators and staff, and our communities as a whole.”
School districts are encouraged to maintain existing vaccination plans already in development; however, this integrated approach will offer an equitable plan to vaccinating school employees in Washington. All vaccination efforts will be in coordination with the newly formed Washington State Vaccine Command and Coordination Center, and vaccine availability will continue to be dependent upon the number of vaccines the state receives.
“The health and safety of our students, staff, and families is a top priority for our state, and we’re proud to support school employees and lead on equitable vaccine distribution,” said Susan Mullaney, regional president for Kaiser Permanente in Washington. “Vaccines are a crucial step needed to get our students and school employees back to school safely, and we are preparing the needed infrastructure now so we can be launch-ready when our state approves the next phase of eligibility. We also look forward to working with our colleagues at Kaiser Permanente in the Northwest to ensure the full coverage of our southwest Washington school employees.”
The plan will include dedicated vaccine resources and space provided by Kaiser Permanente at its owned and operated clinics, as well as at K-12 school locations for both member and nonmember school employees. School districts are encouraged to maintain existing vaccination plans already in development, but a website and updated information on this integrated approach will offer centrally accessible information about timing, scheduling, and links to state resources such as Phase Finder and more.
“It’s critical to support school staff as our schools reopen. Educational Service Districts are ready to provide strong, coordinated support on this massive effort, which has the potential to vaccinate 50,000 employees in the Puget Sound region alone,” said John Welch, superintendent of the Puget Sound Educational Service District.
Throughout the state, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated and highlighted new and existing health, education, racial, and digital inequities, including reduced or inconsistent access to learning support, digital and online access for students and families, early intervention supports, healthy meals, safe environments, and social opportunities.
Those eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine currently include groups in Phase 1 Tier 1A, 2A, and 1B. Educators and staff in K-12 facilities are expected to be eligible to receive the vaccine after 50% of the currently eligible population are vaccinated, in accordance with DOH plans. Future phases of the vaccination process are not yet established.
For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine or to determine which phase you are included in, visit the Washington State Department of Health website at doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/vaccine.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K-12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Chris Reykdal, OSPI works with the state's 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and improve student achievement on behalf of more than one million public school students.
Each of Washington’s nine Educational Service Districts (ESDs) provides essential local services, responsive to their region’s communities. Together, they form a network that leverages each other’s strengths, and supports all students and schools statewide.
For 75 years, Kaiser Permanente has been committed to shaping the future of health and health care — and helping our members, patients, and communities experience more healthy years. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Since July 21, 1945, Kaiser Permanente’s mission has been to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.4 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health.