Governor Tim Walz (D) called for COVID vaccine requirements for Minnesota teachers on Tuesday. The governor said there should also be “consistent” COVID mitigation requirements for schools.
In a letter Walz wrote to legislators, outlining the issues he would like to see addressed in the special session, he said that COVID caseloads at hospitals are twice what they were this time in 2020.
Due to the increasing number of Minnesota COVID cases, the governor urged lawmakers to take action to implement “components of President Biden’s announcement regarding vaccine requirements.”
Walz’s letter reads, “Vaccine and testing requirements for teachers and school staff, and long-term care workers. Minnesota can and should lead by expeditiously implementing these components of President Biden’s announcement regarding vaccine requirements.”
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDH) has not announced any COVID vaccination mandates for teachers or students at this point in time. It has left decisions regarding masking, vaccines, and distancing up to the individual school districts.
According to the Minnesota Department of Education website, the only requirements in place currently are masking on public transportation, which would include school buses, and mandatory reporting of positive COVID cases to MDH.
Walz also asked the legislature to implement more requirements for Minnesota schools.
His letter says it is necessary to outline “consistent requirements for schools that help keep kids safely learning in the classroom, including parental notification of cases, isolation and quarantine, participation in testing and masking as well as other mitigation strategies. Additionally, ensure that districts provide food and other essential services for each and every student when they are not able to hold in-person classes.”
In addition, Walz would like a special session to cover front-line worker pay and drought relief. He said that he urges “the legislature to address these urgent issues and be ready to pass essential legislation at a special session.”
As reported by KARE 11, “Minneapolis Public Schools and Saint Paul Public Schools require staff members to have a COVID vaccine or submit to weekly testing. Anoka-Hennepin, the largest school district in the state, does not require a COVID vaccine.”
New York City recently enacted a COVID vaccine requirement for teachers, leaving hundreds of unvaccinated teachers without jobs.
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