Local schools react to new vaccine mandate

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Jena Doak, [email protected]

September 17, 2021 — Sweetwater County’s educational institutions learned this week that they are included in President Biden’s sweeping order to require vaccination or weekly testing for employees of companies with more than 100 people, affecting about 80 million Americans. It is too early for them to know what approach they will take to deal with the mandate.

In a written statement, Western Wyoming Community College President Kim Dale said that the board has not yet discussed it, as they are waiting for direction from the Wyoming Community College Commission.

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Sweetwater County School District Number 2 is not getting too worked up about it.

“My assumption about it is that this is going to be a long battle, and by the time they get it settled, school will be nearly out, if not already out,” said Superintendent Craig Barringer. “Personally, we have well over half of our staff immunized already, and I trust our staff is doing the right thing for their health.”

Wyo4News reached out to Sweetwater School District Number One for comment but did not receive a reply.

The state of Wyoming is going to try to block the mandate, which Governor Mark Gordon refers to as “federal overreach,” from coming into the schools.  

”We cannot sit on our hands just watching this egregious example of federal government overreach,” Governor Gordon told oilcity.news on Wednesday. He is not alone. Governors and attorneys general in at least 27 states, all Republicans, say that they plan to battle the mandate in court.

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“We are already communicating with other Governors and states to prepare legal options once emergency standards are issued,” Gordon said.

Republicans are not necessarily against vaccination. They believe that Biden’s unilateral action is unconstitutional.

The constitutional appeal for Congress to “provide for…the general welfare of the United States” (art. I, sec. 8) is not necessarily an open-ended endorsement. As a federalist system, states ostensibly govern their internal affairs.

Those who have already had the disease are overlooked by Biden’s announcement. Natural immunity is being proven to be as — or more — effective as vaccine immunization.

However, many Americans are in support of Biden’s vaccine mandate. A recent poll by The Economist reveals that 52% of adults approve, while 40% disapprove.

The U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) could enforce a $14,000 fine on individuals who do not cooperate with the mandate.

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