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Biden Presses States to Require Vaccines for All Teachers

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Hoping to prevent another school year from being upended by the pandemic, President Joe Biden visited a Washington middle school to push his new COVID plan, accusing some Republican governors of being "cavalier" with the health of children.
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Hoping to prevent another school year from being upended by the pandemic, President Joe Biden visited a Washington middle school Friday to push his new COVID plan, accusing some Republican governors of being "cavalier" with the health of children.

Biden's plan, announced a day earlier, would require vaccinations for up to 100 million Americans and seek to ramp up virus testing. With those measures in place, he said, schools should present little risk for transmission of the coronavirus.

"I want folks to know that we're going to be OK," Biden said during an appearance at Brookland Middle School, a short drive from the White House. "We know what it takes to keep our kids safe and our schools open."

But as the surging COVID-19 delta variant casts uncertainty over the start of a new school year — in some cases prompting schools to shut down after a few days — it's unclear whether Biden's plan will go far enough to prevent mass disruption. Biden has little direct authority over most schools, which are generally governed at the local level, and his plan faces sharp resistance from Republicans.

Under his expanded vaccine mandate, all employers with more than 100 workers must require them to get shots or test for the virus weekly. A separate provision requires vaccines for workers in Head Start programs and at schools operated by the federal government, affecting about 300,000 workers.

The plan does not explicitly require vaccines for teachers in locally governed schools, but some education leaders believe the employer rule will effectively amount to a teacher vaccine requirement in many states.

That part of the plan is being enacted through a forthcoming rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. And in states with OSHA…
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