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News >  Pacific NW

Oregon district passes resolution against COVID-19 mandates

Aug. 26, 2021 Updated Thu., Aug. 26, 2021 at 5:32 p.m.

Associated Press

REDMOND, Ore. — A school board in central Oregon, where COVID-19 is surging, has passed a resolution protesting statewide mandates that require masks in schools and vaccines for all teachers, staff and volunteers.

The resolution that passed on a 3-2 vote in Redmond on Wednesday says the 7,500-student district will fight to regain local control of decisions around mask-wearing and vaccines in its schools The resolution specifies that the board supports the district using medical and religious exemptions to avoid the mandates and includes the possibility of legal action against Democratic Gov. Kate Brown.

Board members said Wednesday during debate over the resolution that the district will follow Brown’s mask and vaccine mandates while they pursue legal challenges.

Two board members voted against the resolution because it did not specifically include language that said that. An amendment to add that language failed, also by a 3-2 vote.

One board member who voted against the resolution pointed out that COVID-19 is surging in central Oregon and only 57% of eligible residents in Redmond are fully vaccinated.

Brown said Wednesday she is deploying hundreds of “medical crisis teams” from a staffing agency to hospitals besieged by COVID-19 patients, including hospitals in Redmond and nearby Bend.

Her office did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment Thursday on the school board’s vote.

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