Education Minnesota expects federal vaccine mandates to affect most Minnesota schools, but questions remain


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ST. PAUL, Minnesota. Sept. 10, 2021 – Education Minnesota reacted Friday to President Joe Biden’s sweeping plan to increase the number of vaccinated Americans and counter the threat of the COVID-19 delta variant, a plan which includes new vaccine mandates for American educators. 

“Based on what we know today, we expect the president’s vaccine mandate to affect staff working in Minnesota school districts with 100 or more employees,” said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota. “However, until the federal government produces specific rules for this policy, we can’t comment on how it will work, or even when it will start.” 

“Our union believes every educator, with very few exceptions, should be vaccinated if they are working directly with students,” Specht said. “We encourage more Minnesota districts to work with their educators to co-create vaccination policies for staff. These policies are an important part of safety protocols for keeping educators and students safe and in their buildings all year long. We don’t need to wait for the federal government.” 

According to Education Minnesota’s latest information, three Minnesota school districts have adopted vaccination mandates, which typically require either proof of vaccination or frequent COVID-19 testing for staff members that have a legitimate medical or religious exemption. Those districts are Independent District 287, Red Lake Public Schools and Saint Paul Public Schools. Other districts are considering similar policies.  

Education Minnesota has produced a sample agreement for local school districts and unions of educators to quickly and fairly enact a local vaccine policy. 

About Education Minnesota 
Education Minnesota is the voice for professional educators and students. Education Minnesota’s members include teachers and education support professionals in Minnesota’s public school districts, faculty members at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges and University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth and Crookston, retired educators and student teachers. Education Minnesota is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.