Photo: Klamath County School District

Klamath County School District board asks for local control over COVID-19 response

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – With less than a month to go before Oregon public school teachers have to be vaccinated, the Klamath County School District Board of Directors is pushing against state mandates.

Last month, Governor Kate Brown mandated the COVID-19 vaccine for all health care and K-12 educators, staff, and volunteers. They must be fully vaccinated by October 18.

The Oregon Department of Education made it clear their priority is to keep an in-person learning model this year. If a school district refuses to enforce the new rule, the ODE said the state can issue civil penalties.

Recently, the Klamath County School District board unanimously passed a second resolution asking for local control over the education system’s response to COVID-19. The resolution is similar to one passed by the board in August.

“I was voted onto the school board by people in the community who expected me to be a voice for them,” said KCSD board member Marc Staunton. “There is a lot of misconception about how much power a school board has, especially during these times. It’s become very difficult to voice our personal beliefs, but if we don’t express our discontent the state mandates will continue.”

“To remain quiet is acquiescence,” said board member Laura Blair. “The state needs to keep hearing us. We need local control.”

The resolution asks Governor Brown to change recent state requirements to recommendations so the Klamath County School District can work directly with Klamath County Public Health to determine COVID-19 mitigation strategies at a local level.

The district board cited recent outdoor mask mandates as one of the things that’s “increasingly difficult for KCSD and its Board of Directors to respond to” within a short period of time.

Read the full resolution HERE.

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