Washington now has the country's most far reaching vaccine requirement for school employees with Governor Jay Inslee's new executive order.

All teachers and school workers - including coaches, bus drivers and volunteers - will need to be fully vaccinated by mid-October as a condition of employment.

Inslee said Wednesday the requirement will apply to every type of K-12 school, whether it's public, charter or private.

"This starts with the rational that theses vaccines are incredibly effective, amazingly effective" said Inslee. "They are a medical miracle."

Inslee says there's a reason it goes beyond a similar order in California that allows for regular virus testing in place of vaccinations.

"We are well past the point where testing is enough to keep people safe," Inslee said. "We've tried it. It has not been adequate to the task at hand."

The new requirement will affect about 40-to-50-thousand school workers who haven't received a vaccine.

They'll have to be vaccinated by mid-October or face dismissal, although there are exemptions for medical and religious reason.

Mask Mandate Comes After First One

Governor Inslee also announced Wednesday that he's reintroducing a mask mandate after one first went into effect in June of 2020, during a peak in the pandemic.

Inslee says the new order, that applies to people whether or not they're vaccinated, is being done to help control the spread of the Delta strain of COVID-19.

"In a sense, this is a new fight," said Inslee. "In a sense, this is a new virus. The Delta variant presents a whole new challenge to the state of Washington. "And just as we've said since the start of the pandemic, we've got to tackle new threats with the tools we have."

Exemptions to the mask requirement are limited to cases where vaccinated people are working in office spaces not easily accessible and small, private indoor gatherings where everyone is vaccinated.

The state Department of Health is also strongly recommending wearing masks in crowded outdoor settings such as concerts, fairs and farmers markets.

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