Edmonds School District prepares for possible staff shortages due to vaccine mandate

With Gov. Jay Inslee’s deadline that all K-12 employees in the state be vaccinated against COVID-19 set for Oct. 18, the Edmonds School District is preparing for the possibility of fewer bus routes and hot meals for students if employees decide to quit rather than get the shot.

Last month, Inslee announced that all public, private and charter school employees must get vaccinated as a condition of their employment. The directive also applied to health care employees and state employees.

In the Edmonds School District, 65% of employees have completed the vaccine verification process or been approved for either a medical or religious exemption, which is allowed under the governor’s order. The district is already experiencing staffing shortages, particularly in transportation and food services, according to district spokesperson Harmony Weinberg.

“All departments could feel it if we don’t get to that 100% (vaccine) verification requirement by the governor,” she said.

Weinberg said district leadership will follow Inslee’s order, and though there is concern about additional shortages, she is optimistic that many who have not yet received their shots will do so within the next three weeks.

One area where Weinberg said the district may suffer is in transportation. By law, the district is required to provide transportation for students enrolled in special education and for students experiencing homelessness. With fewer drivers, some routes for general education students — whom the district is not required to provide transportation for — may be cut, she said. Weinberg called cutting bus routes the “worst-case” scenario.

Additionally, Weinberg said there are fewer food services workers this year. If employees continue to opt out of the vaccine, schools may have to serve fewer hot meals and will have to resort to prepared meals.

”We want the community to understand that we want to transport your kids and we will do what we can, but at the end of the day we have legal requirements and we will follow the law,” she said.

–By Cody Sexton



  1. These are educators. The rate of vaccination should already be 100%. If they refuse, they can move to Idaho or somewhere else they are OK with playing Russian Roulette with the lives of children.

  2. I am a visitor from out of state visiting family.
    Aren’t these the same higher educated over paid people that wanted the vaccine in order to go back to the class room? Did they get their Polo and Smallpox vaccines? The world is a better place with both of those illness gone. But it seems they are smarter than the average. Good luck when you have Covid. As Forest Gump said, “You can’t fix stupid”

  3. My immune system is compromised, my doctor recommends negative for shots. I mask, keep distance, and deal with life. Covid is terrible, everyone is affected in some way. Mental, physical, emotional, life changing…it’s hard, difficult stuff…If a person decides not to put a drug/shots into their body, that they do not want in their body, I think there are many reasons behind choice making. Some qualified, trained workers will leave in every profession when faced with get shots or go choice, which adds to the stressful mix during a very stressful time.

  4. Normally, I fully support teachers and everyone who works for the school. However, educators that so deeply believe in misinformation that they are willing to risk their lives, are not ones that I want teaching my child. I want my child to trust science and peer-reviewed evidence, not some social media post.

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