Oregon Gov. Brown Announces COVID Vaccine Mandate for All Teachers, School Staff

Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced a new policy on Thursday requiring all K-12 school teachers and staff members to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Brown's announcement came in a series of tweets where she wrote, "I've directed the Oregon Health Authority to issue a rule requiring all teachers, educators, support staff, and volunteers in K-12 schools to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19––again by October 18, or six weeks from FDA approval, whichever is later."

In a subsequent tweet, Brown wrote, "There are those who will disagree with the actions I am taking today. But school is starting across the state. COVID-19 poses a threat to our kids, and our kids need to be protected. And I'm willing to take the heat for it."

There are those who will disagree with the actions I am taking today. But school is starting across the state. COVID-19 poses a threat to our kids, and our kids need to be protected. And I’m willing to take the heat for it.

— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) August 19, 2021

While speaking about the vaccine requirement during a press conference, Brown said, "we've seen school districts in the south be upended by COVID-19, with thousands of students quarantined because they opened without robust safety measures."

Brown continued, "Ensuring all the adults around students are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 adds another layer of protection for students."

During the press conference, Brown also announced a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all healthcare workers in the state. In Oregon, healthcare workers were previously allowed to opt-out of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine if they underwent weekly testing, but Brown said on Thursday that the state's "vaccination requirement will no longer have a testing alternative."

COVID-19 vaccine
Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all teachers and school staff in the state on Thursday, August 19, 2021. The above stock image shows vials of the Pfizer vaccine with syringes. Patrick T. Fallon/Getty

According to Brown, healthcare workers in the state are required to be vaccinated by October 18, or six weeks after approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The announcement by Brown comes just one day after the Portland Public School District said that all staff members will be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine prior to the start of the school year.

"The public health guidance is clear—vaccines are the best way to prevent the spread and the severity of COVID. Today we are announcing a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all PPS staff," the Portland Public School District said in a statement on Wednesday.

Similar vaccine requirements for teachers have also been announced in Washington and California.

On Wednesday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced that all K-12 school employees are required to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus. School staff members are required to be vaccinated by October 18 "as a condition of employment."

In California, Governor Gavin Newsom previously said that teachers and school staff in the state are encouraged to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. If they decide against receiving it, they will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing at least once a week.

Newsweek reached out to Brown's press office for further comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.