As Oregon educators respond to Governor Kate Brown’s mandate that school teachers, staff and volunteers get vaccinated against COVID-19, they await an order from Oregon Department of Education articulating the requirement. While they wait, the school district in Oregon’s county with the lowest adult vaccination rate says it is delaying its school year start date.
Lake County School District Superintendent Michael Carter says classes will start September 15 for the District’s nearly 800 students. He says the best education and safest environment for students are priorities for him and the District.
Carter says he decided yesterday to start the school year a week later to address coronavirus issues and to be responsive to families affected by summer wildfires. The superintendent says Lake County School District was the largest district in Oregon to retain five-day-a-week schools last year, with even more students registered for the upcoming school year.
Carter hopes the teachers can get a weekly COVID-19 test instead of a COVID-19 vaccination if they prefer, an option Brown set aside today. He also hopes a current coronavirus case surge and Delta variant subside, noting Lake County has just one case.
The superintendent says he respects District staff decisions about vaccination. He says he doesn’t want to see good teachers leave their jobs, so he’s looking for other options to meet State requirements.
Carter thinks the District staff vaccination rate is approximately 35%. Lake County’s adult COVID-19 vaccination rate is 38.9%.