Updated: September 03, 2021 06:14 PM
Created: September 03, 2021 07:32 AM
The St. Paul Public Schools board unanimously decided Friday morning to adopt a resolution requiring staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to regularly scheduled testing.
The measure applies to teachers and staff and also applies to contractors, vendors and certain visitors.
Those who fall under the new mandate would be required to sign a form indicating they've been vaccinated and there will be random checks for vaccine cards.
The resolution would go into effect Oct. 15.
Union members said the measure's adoption could have an impact across the state.
"Our members let us know that having a vaccine would be one of the ways they would want to return in person," Leah Vandassor, president of St. Paul Federation of Educators, said. "So along with masking and social distancing when possible, which isn't really realistic in schools right now, we feel like vaccination requirements are one of the best things we can use to keep our members and, our students especially, safe in this situation."
This week, the St. Paul Board of Education heard from teachers, parents and community members about the vaccine mandate for all employees.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS talked to the president of Education Minnesota about the debate.
Denise Specht says nationally, 86% of educators are vaccinated and she said she believes that number is higher in Minnesota.
But with a national and state shortage of teachers already, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS asked: Could a vaccine mandate backfire?
"Considering the fact that we have such a high number of educators already vaccinated, I don't know what kind of impact that will have, but you are absolutely right; we had an educator shortage before COVID, and it's just gotten worse," Specht said.
Red Lake schools just passed a vaccine mandate, as did Intermediate District 287 in Plymouth.
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