Teachers and other employees in schools in Washington, D.C. metro areas in Maryland and Virginia will soon face repercussions if they fail to comply with COVID-19 vaccination mandates, according to The Washington Post.
In Maryland’s Montgomery County, a suburb of Washington, D.C., more than 460 out of 24,600 public school district employees have not reported their vaccination status, and are losing a day’s pay for it, district spokesman Chris Cram said.
Although not required, the district boasts a 95% employee vaccination rate. Weekly testing in place of vaccination is mandatory, and Cram said that “there is progressive discipline in place if they [employees] do not test weekly.”
“It is important to assure we are fully staffed and meet our operational needs,” he said. “We will also continue to work with all of these [unvaccinated] employees to make sure they understand the importance of our mitigation strategies, including vaccination.”
Some school systems in the area, including Montgomery County, have loosened their COVID-19 protocol due to staffing shortages by adding the option of weekly testing. However, this has issues as well.
Prince George’s County Public Schools, also in Maryland, terminated an employee for not adhering to its vaccination or weekly testing mandate. The district placed other employees on leave. In total, there is an 83% vaccination rate of staffers.
Although having a higher vaccination rate than Prince George at 88%, the Loudoun County Public Schools in Virginia suspended a weekly testing requirement for unvaccinated employees.
“They could not handle the volume,” Wayde Byard, spokesman for the Loudon school system, said regarding the status of a state testing program. If that changes, he said, “we may look at it, but as of now, it can’t.”
“Right now, the unvaccinated are just doing all the protocols we all have to do,” Byard added.
In D.C. schools, roughly 83% of staff have submitted proof of vaccination as of Nov. 16, officials said.
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