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Bellevue teachers: Pause school openings until vaccines available

The following is from the Bellevue Education Association:

BELLEVUE (Jan. 21, 2021) — On Tuesday, members of the Bellevue Education Associate (BEA) overwhelmingly voted to pause on the expansion of in-person schooling as proposed by the district until full vaccination for COVID-19 is made available to all educators. All currently operating in-person and virtual services will continue as they have been operating if the district agrees to the expansion pause.

Tuesday night’s vote means that if the district refuses to announce this pause on Wednesday, Jan. 20, all Bellevue educators not currently providing necessary in-person and mental health services will instead continue providing uninterrupted instruction and job responsibilities through independent asynchronous work through Thursday and Friday, Jan. 21-22. If the district refuses to announce this pause by the end of the workday Friday, Jan. 22, BEA will hold a special general membership meeting Jan. 22 to discuss further collective action.

“We stand by our commitment to providing in-person services to our students in safe ways that support individual needs,” said Allison Snow, Bellevue Education Association President Allison Snow says. “Nobody wants to be back in the classroom more than educators, but only when it’s safe.”

“We have a vaccine on the horizon and we need to use every protection possible to keep our students, staff, and community safe,” Snow says. “It doesn’t make sense to return more students and staff to school buildings without taking every measure we can, which includes offering vaccines to educators.”

Many school districts throughout the state are continuing to delay returning to classrooms for safety reasons.

The Bellevue Education Association represents more than 1,450 educators in the district. Bellevue educators’ vote comes as a bipartisan group of state legislators, school districts, medical experts, and school employees have echoed the call to provide educators with access to COVID vaccination as soon as possible. When paired with the state Labor and Industries requirements, the vaccine can provide the community with the trust and confidence it needs that schools are safe.

Additionally, new variants of the COVID-19 virus are emerging that studies show may be more easily spread and may have greater impacts on children.


► From KNKX — Bellevue district will bring 2nd-graders back even after teachers union votes against it — Bellevue Superintendent Ivan Duran says the district will continue with its plan to welcome about 770 second-graders back for in-person learning on Thursday, even though teachers may not show up. The Bellevue Education Association voted on Tuesday to call on the school district to pause its expansion of in-person learning, saying it should be delayed until all educators have had full access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

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