School’s in for COVID
The coronavirus vaccine will not be on the state’s list of required immunizations for children to attend school, the Washington Board of Health decided on April 13.
According to a release by the state’s Department of Health (DOH), the two health organizations “continue to support COVID-19 vaccines as being safe and effective, and particularly protective against severe illness, hospitalization, and death,” recommending people to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccination recommendations.
Rather than require vaccines, the DOH encourages people to get vaccinated and boosted, wear a mask, stay home if they feel sick and isolate if they test positive for the coronavirus.
“COVID-19 is increasing in some communities, and we must still actively work to prevent its spread,” DOH said.
The state had already decided that masks will not be universally required in Washington schools. While most students can receive the vaccine, children below the age of 5 remain ineligible. CBS News reported that Pfizer and BioNTech have asked the Food and Drug Administration to approve its vaccine for younger children.
According to state data, approximately 81.5 percent of Washingtonians who are eligible for the vaccine have received at least one dose, and 74 percent are fully vaccinated. As of April 12, the state reported that King County has one of the highest 7-day case rates in the state at 120 cases per 100,000 people, and approximately 3 percent of hospital beds are occupied by coronavirus patients.
Defending the defense
The City Attorney’s Office will request that the Court of Appeals reconsider its decision to strike down components of the six-month eviction defense ordinance that protected some city renters after the eviction moratorium ended at the end of February.
The court struck down portions of two city of Seattle ordinances meant to help tenants stay in their homes in certain circumstances in March. The laws were challenged by the Rental Housing Association of Washington and other landlords.
The court didn’t ax the 6-month eviction defense in its entirety. Instead, it shot down the “self-certification” section, which prevented landlords from arguing that a tenant could pay rent but did not.
Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda celebrated the decision to fight for the ordinance on Twitter.
“This eviction defense is central to the set of protections and resources Council put in place to make sure tenants are able to stay in their homes following the expiration of the COVID eviction moratoria while still experiencing economic hardship,” she wrote.
The six-month defense will stay in place during the appeals process, she wrote.
Ashley Archibald is the editor of Real Change News.
Read more of the Apr. 20-26, 2022 issue.