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Wyoming Department of Education: Biden vaccine rules likely apply to Cowboy State schools

(Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

CASPER, Wyo. — President Joe Biden announced a new COVID-19 Action Plan last week that includes a rule that will mandate employers with 100 or more employees require their employees to either get vaccinated or get tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis.

The forthcoming rule is being developed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The Wyoming Department of Education says that the rule will likely apply to Wyoming school districts.

“While this requirement has been widely publicized around its impact on workers in the private sector, it is probable that public sector employees — including K-12 educators — will be included in the 26 states and 2 territories that have OSHA-Approved State Plans,” the WDE said in a Monday memo sent to superintendents across the state. “Wyoming is one of the states with an OSHA-approved plan. We anticipate more information in the coming days.”

Governor Mark Gordon has criticized Biden’s new policy, calling it “an egregious example of big government overreach” and leadership of the Wyoming Legislature on Friday expressed support for the governor and Wyoming Attorney General Bridget Hill pursuing legal action to try to prevent enforcement of the new rules.

Biden on Friday pushed back against claims from some Republican governors that he is overstepping his authority by issuing the new policy, according to the Associated Press.

Like the WDE, a Natrona County School District official said on Monday that the district is awaiting more guidance in regard to the new Biden policy. NCSD employs around 3,000 people.

The Wyoming Department of Health provides COVID-19 case, variant, death, testing, hospital and vaccine data online. The department also shares information about how the data can be interpreted. COVID-19 safety recommendations are available from the CDC.