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A man receives a COVID-19 vaccine from a nurse in the gymnasium at Whitney M. Young Elementary School on April 2 in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

The largest teachers' union in the country said Thursday that they support vaccine and testing mandates, per a statement from the union's president.

Why it matters: National Education Association president Becky Pringle had previously said that mandates should be negotiated at the local level but that those who can get vaccinated, should do so. The union represents more than 3 million teachers and school faculty members.

  • Another major teachers union, the American Federation of Teachers, on Wednesday stopped short of supporting vaccine mandates for its members, per Politico but AFT president Randi Weingarten said Sunday that the Delta variant was "alarming" and expressed an openness to vaccine mandates.

The big picture: "As we enter a new school year amidst a rapidly spreading Delta variant and lagging public vaccination rates, it is clear that the vaccination of those eligible is one of the most effective ways to keep schools safe, and they must be coupled with other proven mitigation strategies," NEA president Becky Pringle said.

  • The announcement comes amid rising cases of coronavirus, especially among children under 12 who are not eligible for the vaccine, and as students and teachers prepare to return to school.

Driving the news: Currently, about 90% of NEA members are fully vaccinated, per the statement.

  • The union urges accommodations, including paid leave, for employees who get vaccinated. "Employee input, including collective bargaining where applicable, is critical," Pringle said.
  • For individuals who do not get vaccinated due to medical exemptions, the NEA supports regular COVID-19 testing.
  • "We believe that such vaccine requirements and accommodations are an appropriate, responsible, and necessary step to ensure the safety of our school communities and to protect our students," Pringle said.

Go deeper

More campus COVID mandates at OSU

Students and medical workers line up to take a bus on the Ohio State University campus. Photo: Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Several COVID requirements at Ohio State go into effect this week and next, including mandated vaccines and testing.

Why it matters: These efforts are meant to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on a crowded campus with tens of thousands of students, faculty and staff, many of which are traveling for fall break

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

FDA panel endorses shot of J&J booster for adults

Photo: Wolfgang Kumm/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Members of the Food and Drug Administration's vaccine expert panel on Friday unanimously endorsed a booster shot for adult recipients of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine at least two months after the initial dose.

Why it matters: The advisory committee raised concerns about a dearth of data to support their decision but ultimately decided to support an additional shot for those over 18.

Capitol Police officer indicted for obstructing Jan. 6 investigation

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Brent Stirton/Getty Images

A U.S. Capitol Police officer has been indicted on obstruction of justice charges for allegedly helping hide evidence of a participant's involvement in the Jan. 6 riot.

Driving the news: Officer Michael A. Riley, 50, is accused of telling the unidentified participant, referred to as "Person 1," in the Jan. 6 riot to delete posts from Facebook, which showed them in the Capitol during the attack.