Speaking from the White House, President Biden yesterday announced a set of sweeping mandates he intends to impose as part of an “action plan” to combat the resurgent COVID pandemic triggered by a surge in the delta variant. Those mandates would require millions of Americans to be vaccinated against COVID.
The President also called on states to voluntarily adopt COVID vaccine requirements for all school employees.
However, the President’s plan would mandate that teachers and staff at Head Start and Early Head Start programs, teachers and child and youth program personnel at the Department of Defense (DOD), and teachers and staff at Bureau of Indian Education-operated schools get vaccinated.
Included among the other mandates laid out by the President are requirements for most federal workers and contractors to be vaccinated, a requirement for health care workers at hospitals and health care facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid payments to be vaccinated, and a sweeping requirement that all private sector (or so it appears) employers with 100 or more employees would have to mandate vaccines or weekly testing of employees. (We will update this post as we research this last item further.)
The President further announced that his Administration is preparing for COVID vaccination booster shots to start as early as the week of September 20th, subject to authorization or approval by the FDA and a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a group of medical and public health experts that develop recommendations on how to use vaccines.
In addition, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a rule that will require employers with more than 100 employees to provide paid time off for the time it takes for workers to get vaccinated.
The President’s plan to combat COVID-19 this fall, called the “Path Out Of The Pandemic POTUS COVID 19 Action Plan,” notes that his Administration has taken significant actions to get students safely back in the classroom, including providing $130 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to help schools reopen, accelerate students’ academic growth, address inequities exacerbated by the pandemic, allow local school districts to implement CDC-recommended COVID-19 prevention strategies, and support student and educators’ social, emotional, and mental health needs. The plan outlines six main components:
1. Vaccinating the Unvaccinated
2. Furthering Protection for the Vaccinated
3. Keeping Schools Safely Open
4. Increasing Testing and Requiring Masking
5. Protecting Our Economic Recovery
6. Improving Care for Those with COVID-19