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Oregon parents rights group files petition against Oregon Health Authority over school vaccine mandate

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Oregon parents rights group files petition against Oregon Health Authority over school vaccine mandate
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Oregon parents are rising up to challenge the state’s health department to repeal a ban on unvaccinated teachers, staff, and parents from schools.

A parents’ rights group called the Oregon Moms Union on Monday filed a petition to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to repeal OAR 333-019-1030. 

OAR 333-019-1030 mandates a COVID-19 vaccination for teachers and school staff. 

“Children are required to attend school, which is a congregate setting where COVID-19 can spread easily if precautions are not taken. COVID-19 undergoes frequent mutations as it replicates, which over time has resulted in variants that are more transmissible or cause more severe disease,” OHA stated under the OAR 333-019-1030 policy.

Back in August 19, 2021, Gov. Kate Brown announced healthcare workers and all teachers, educators, support staff, and volunteers in K-12 schools would need to be fully vaccinated. 

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Parents protesting in Loudoun County, Virginia in 2021
Parents protesting in Loudoun County, Virginia in 2021

Oregon Moms Union claimed that “this rule is exacerbating public education staffing shortages by banning qualified teachers, staff, and volunteer parents from classrooms for not being vaccinated.”

The petition was filed by the Oregon Moms Union President and Founder MacKensey Pulliam. The petition blasts the OHA’s mandate for contradicting “CDC guidance.” The petition goes on to say that CDC guidance “no longer differentiates between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals when it comes to testing and isolation, therefore vaccinations should not be a requirement for teachers, staff, and volunteers.”

The petition is part of a process to review the validity of OHA’s vaccine mandate.

Parents Defending Education co-founder Nicole Neily speaking at parents' rally on Capitol Hill Nov. 16, 2021

Parents Defending Education co-founder Nicole Neily speaking at parents’ rally on Capitol Hill Nov. 16, 2021

“The CDC guidance has changed since this rule was implemented and they no longer differentiate between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals,” said Pulliam in a press release. “Parents are asking why this outdated rule is still in effect when we need to prioritize getting teachers the support they need and giving parents the ability to get back into the classroom to get our kids caught up.”

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The petition seeks to force OHA to repeal the “outdated rule” on “behalf of parents and students. A public comment period where OHA will collect public feedback will be available. 

Under the Administrative Procedure Act, any interested party can request an agency to issue, amend, or repeal a rule. 

OHA Public Health Division previously received petitions to amend OAR 333-019-1015, which is a masking requirement in school, and petitions to repeal the aforementioned OAR 333-019-1030.  After a petition was filed, OHA invited public comment on the rules in accordance with state law. Then they reviewed the comments to determine whether the rule should be reconsidered.

Within 90 days after receipt of the petition, the agency will either deny the petition or initiate rulemaking proceedings.

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Forming in early 2021, Oregon Moms Union was created in the wake of COVID-19 school shutdowns and distance learning. The Oregon Moms Union “seeks to empower parents to advocate for a student-first K-12 education system.” The Oregon Moms Union currently has more than 90 volunteer School District Captains serving in more than 75 school districts.

Parents all over the country have been speaking out against coronavirus-related mandates in schools and progressive curricula that have been associated with critical race theory or gender theory. 

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FILE PHOTO: Tristan Thorgersen puts pro-Youngkin signs up as people gather to protest different issues including the board’s handling of a sexual assault that happened in a school bathroom in May, vaccine mandates and critical race theory during a Loudoun County School Board meeting in Ashburn, Virginia, U.S., October 26, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

FILE PHOTO: Tristan Thorgersen puts pro-Youngkin signs up as people gather to protest different issues including the board’s handling of a sexual assault that happened in a school bathroom in May, vaccine mandates and critical race theory during a Loudoun County School Board meeting in Ashburn, Virginia, U.S., October 26, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo
(REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo)

The issues prompted parents to rise up to run for school board seats after concerns over educational content during the coronavirus pandemic. Some parents who had little political experience pulled off victories.

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