MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Public Health Department provided an update to the Public Safety and Health Committee on its continued efforts responding to the pandemic.
Milwaukee Public Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson said the vaccination rate has increased more quickly in three weeks than it has over the course of the summer.
She said while that's good sign, they are seeing high levels of community spread which leads to high levels of infection.
Johnson said community spread is coming from private events.
"We know people are getting it from family events, lunches, birthdays," Johnson said. "Transmission rarely happens within the classroom when children are masked."
Johnson said teachers are seeing higher rates of infection instead of students. So, she applauds the decision made by the MPS Board of Directors to require all teachers be vaccinated.
The Milwaukee Public School District is now the first district in the state to require vaccinations for teachers.
MPS employees will have until November 1 to roll up their sleeves and get the COVID-19 shot.
However, the district will make exceptions for medical or religious reasons.
"The best way we can protect our kids who are ineligible for the vaccine is to surround them by people who are vaccinated," Johnson said.
Students are not being required to get vaccinated, but those who are vaccinated by Nov. 1 will be eligible for $100 monetary incentives, including those who have already been vaccinated.
The district said if staff do not get the vaccine in time they will face having to take unpaid time off until they get it, or face possible termination.
From school to sporting events, President Joe Biden is calling on sports arenas and entertainment venues to require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.
We haven't heard from the Packers organization since the president's announcement Thursday, but, the teams statement made in mid-August said proof of vaccinations would not be required at Packers events.
Johnson said they are paying close attention to when the Food and Drug Administration approve the booster shot. The FDA is set to meet sometime in mid-September.