Education Minnesota encourages state government to work with its education employees to quickly create vaccination policies

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota. Aug. 11, 2021 – Education Minnesota encouraged the administration of Gov. Tim Walz to work with unions of educators that work directly for the state to quickly and fairly implement the vaccine mandate announced Wednesday. 

“Vaccines and masking are two of the best ways to keep students safe and learning during this pandemic,” said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota. “We support everyone coming to the table, working out the details and quickly putting vaccine policies in place.” 

The educators affected by the mandate announced by Walz on Wednesday include the faculty and staff in the Minnesota State system and a group of about 200 educators who provide instruction in the state’s correctional facilities, hospitals, group homes, the Minnesota Center for Arts Education and the Minnesota State Academies for the Deaf and Blind.  

Matt Williams, president of the Minnesota State College Faculty union, encouraged his members to get vaccinated – and to work with campus administrators to ensure students and faculty have the safest possible learning spaces this fall.  

“As unionists, we believe it is our special responsibility to take care of one another,” he said. “For us, this means following masking guidance, getting as many people vaccinated as we can, and any other mitigation effort that will help us end this pandemic as quickly as possible while keeping ourselves and our communities safe and healthy. We also hold a very firm belief that decisions about us should not be made without us.” 

The state government currently lacks the authority to impose a statewide vaccine policy on employees of local school districts, which employ the overwhelming majority of Education Minnesota members. Education Minnesota has distributed a sample model agreement to its local unions to facilitate quick negotiation and implementation of district-specific vaccine policies. 

“Vaccination is the best tool we have for protecting our students, educators and the rest of our school communities,” Specht said. “With very few exceptions, every educator who works directly with students this year should be vaccinated.” 

For more information about Education Minnesota’s position on vaccinations of educators working in school districts, see: “Education Minnesota supports vaccination of educators ahead of 2021-22 school year.”

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.

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