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October 18th vaccination deadline arrives in Seattle

(Image: King County Metro)

October 18th has arrived and, so far, it’s just another Monday morning in Seattle. But the deadline for city, county, and state workers to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination comes along with new challenges.

Most immediate, many Seattle Public Schools families scrambled over the weekend to figure out how to get kids to campus after the district said it was canceling more than 140 bus routes:

Beginning on Monday, October 18, Seattle Public Schools will be suspending approximately 142 bus routes.

Why is this happening?

  • Seattle Public Schools contracts with First Student, a third-party vendor, for bus service; we do not own or operate school buses.
  • Like most school bus and transportation services throughout the country, First Student has been experiencing driver shortages.
  • More driver shortages are expected on Oct. 18 when Washington state law requires all school district employees – including third party contractors – to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Who will continue to receive bus service?

  • Students receiving special education services whose IEPs specify transportation as a related service.
  • McKinney Vento and foster students.
  • Students with a 504 plan that includes transportation services.
  • Schools that serve large numbers or high proportions of historically underserved students.​​​​​​​
  • Schools at interim sites.

Around Capitol Hill, the impact has varied with families at Stevens Elementary, for one example, sorting out groups to walk and ride with to school together, while other area schools like Washington Middle School were part of equity prioritization and were able to maintain bus service.

It’s a nationwide problem with school bus services just one of many categories that have become challenging to staff in this stage of the pandemic. Last month in Massachusetts, the National Guard was deployed to help fill in during school bus driver shortages.

King County Metro said it was also ready to lend a hand, providing information for families turning to its routes to get kids to school. Metro has had challenges of its own with cancellations of routes due to staffing levels dating to well before Monday’s deadline.

Over the weekend, Metro said 85% of its staff “have already verified their vaccination status—and we expect that number to grow.”

Other areas of civic service have raised concerns but seem to be safely removed from the crisis situation many predicted. In Seattle, the police department says most officers have complied with the order.

At Seattle City Hall, SPD’s tallies aren’t far below the city’s workforce as a whole — and there’s still time for more to report. As of Thursday the city said more than 25 departments were “95%+ of employees vaccinated” and that that the Seattle Fire Department was at 88% as of Friday with SPD tallying 82% vaccinated.

The Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle City Light is at 90%, and Seattle Public Utilities all clocked in above 90%.

City employees have until Monday’s deadline to submit vaccine verification information in order to comply with the mandate.

CHS reported here in August on the requirements at the state, county, and city levels of government as officials looked to further reduce the number of unvaccinated people and address public safety issues from a workforce including unvaccinated employees.

The deadline comes as the City of Seattle prepares to ramp back up its public vaccination efforts amid continued high transmission with a new downtown Vaccination Hub, boosters, and plans for kids to finally begin the vaccination process.

 

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CKathes
CKathes
1 month ago

Obviously, way too many people are watching Fox News and believing what it tells them, at the cost of their livelihoods and very possibly their lives, in addition to making life more difficult and dangerous for the rest of us.

(Ironically, the Murdoch media empire both enforces a strict vaccine protocol on its own staff and takes a staunchly pro-vaccine position in countries with conservative albeit pro-vaccine governments. But it never tells American viewers either of those things.)

Bento
Bento
1 month ago
Reply to  CKathes

Blaming this on Fox seems like a stretch. I don’t watch Fox, but like a lot of people, believe in informed consent. I’m vaccinated, but that’s my personal choice. It’s funny how “keep your laws off my body” doesn’t apply in this instance. The BIPOC community trends to be more averse to vaccination than others, and I seriously doubt that is a big part of the Fox viewership. That that doesn’t get discussed much or obvious reasons. Bottom line is that people can have various reasons to not want to vaccinate. Some of them actually have immunity because they have had Covid. For some reason, this doesn’t exempt them. My doctor was fired yesterday from UW because he doesn’t want to vaccinate. This is all a terrible self-inflicted wound, in my opinion. It’s more about political posturing than being reasonable.

CKathes
CKathes
1 month ago
Reply to  Bento

[big sigh] “Keep your laws off my body” does not apply in a public health emergency involving a highly contagious illness. Never has, never will. This has been explained and restated literally thousands of times by now and I honestly don’t understand why some people still have such a hard time grasping the concept. What one does with one’s own body matters if it directly harms society as a whole. Those who don’t want to get vaccinated need to completely self-isolate and not expect special treatment if and when they do get sick.

No, Fox News isn’t 100 percent responsible for the disinformation blizzard that is making people afraid of safe, thoroughly tested vaccines (we’d still have to contend with the likes of Dennis Prager, an out-and-proud superspreader who disdains “experimental” vaccines but then seeks a treatment that is even less researched). But Fox has so much more influence than any other single disinformation purveyor that if it didn’t exist, vaccine resistance would be easily manageable, as it still is for most other vaccines. And you might want to update your info on BIPOC vaccine uptake. The racial gap is far smaller than it was six months ago. By and large, people of color are not the problem (except on, yes, Fox News).

Fairly Obvious
Fairly Obvious
1 month ago
Reply to  Bento

The BIPOC community trends to be more averse to vaccination than others, and I seriously doubt that is a big part of the Fox viewership.

That’s due to the BIPOC community having less access to health care, which would advise them to get the vaccine, not because they are necessarily against it.

Some of them actually have immunity because they have had Covid. For some reason, this doesn’t exempt them.

We still have no idea what the lasting immunity from getting COVID is. It appears that reinfections are rare and mild and that infers to variants.

To exempt those that have been infected would require a convoluted tracking system with much more stringent testing standards. Once you throw in potential false positives and false negatives, we may as well say “just get the damn shot” to be sure.

Which is what we did.

My doctor was fired yesterday from UW because he doesn’t want to vaccinate. This is all a terrible self-inflicted wound, in my opinion. It’s more about political posturing than being reasonable.

See the WSU football coach, who tried to lie and claim a religious exemption due to his “stringent Catholic faith”. The Pope, the uncontested, infallible leader of the Catholic Church has already said “get the damn vaccine”.

Society has run out of patience for these dangerous plague zombies.