MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Public Schools is one step closer to requiring teachers and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
At a committee meeting Tuesday, the group voted unanimously to move a resolution forward that would require the administration to report back on the legality and enforceability of such a mandate.
As written, the resolution would mandate vaccines among staff with very few exceptions. If an exception is granted, those who are unvaccinated must be tested for COVID-19 once a week.
School Board Member Bob Peterson introduced the resolution, arguing that “without healthy teachers and staff, we will not have healthy students or quality, in-person learning. If our community can worry about and take steps to protect Summerfest goers, I think we as a school board should feel empowered to put health and safety of our students first and support a vaccination requirement at MPS.”
Shunda Davis, an employee at the district, was against the mandate and spoke at the meeting. “I believe vaccination is a private and personal choice. Currently vaccinated people are still getting COVID. I don’t believe anyone’s job should have a right to mandate what people do with their bodies,” Davis said.
A parent who called the district’s return to school plan “foolish optimism” said incentives for staff getting the vaccination should not be based on finances but health.
“Number 1, not dying of COVID-19. Number 2, not infecting innocent children with COVID-19 and potentially causing their deaths. And Number 3, keeping your job,” said Ron Jansen.
The resolution called for the administration to research and come up with a plan by the October meeting of the committee. District Superintendent Dr. Keith Posley asked that a preliminary report be done by September.
BREAKING: @MilwaukeeMPS Committee votes unanimously to move forward with RESEARCHING the ability to force employees to have/get the #COVIDvaccine or submit to weekly COVID tests. @tmj4 at 10:00 for more details. (Note: this is not a mandate, yet.) pic.twitter.com/X2M03ivesv— Tom Durian (@TMJ4Tom) August 17, 2021