It had the support to advance from all 50 delegates going into this year’s 2021 NEA Representative Assembly according to the NEA website, but a measure calling for mandatory COVID-19 vaccines, dubbed “New Business Item 33” was defeated by a vote. The NEA did not say what the results were for the vote on the measure.
Under New Business Item 33, the NEA will called for mandatory safe and effective COVID-19 vaccinations and testing for all students and staff before returning to face-to-face instruction in the fall, subject to medical exceptions in accordance with existing law, and will widely publicize this position via social media.
“We will further call for and publicize that safety measures such as social distancing, masking, and proper ventilation be mandatory for all,” the item read.
“COVID-19 has already killed over 600,000 people. Black and Latinx communities have suffered twice the deaths, and this inequality will deepen as variants spread. The pandemic respects no boundaries. We must fight for a policy that puts human life first,” said Oakland school teacher Mark Airgood who proposed the measure.
Since being defeated, the NEA has not yet issued a formal back-to-school COVID-19 safety policy. Many states are not requiring social distancing, vaccines or face masks when schools return to session later this summer.