PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia School Board unanimously approved a vaccine mandate for all teachers and staff. The decision came during their Tuesday night meeting.
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A district spokesperson told CBS3 the policy will not go into effect immediately. District administration will meet with employee unions to decide a start date. Potential penalties will also be negotiated.
Right from the start, Superintendent William Hite showed his support for the policy that includes regular testing for employees who are not vaccinated, mandatory indoor masking and regular communication for all employees.
During a special session Tuesday night, two student representatives weighed in on the practical application of this policy, including common areas like the cafeterias and health privacy of information.READ MORE: Official First-Edition Printed Copy Of U.S. Constitution Set To Go Up For Auction
“I don’t know how a reactive measure is going to help with a preventative measure to keep people’s privacy safe,” student board representative Rebecca Allen said.
Before the vote, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan reiterated the union’s support of a mandate, saying, “This union has been very clear from the start — we support vaccines, and we have been urging every member to get vaccinated. Further, we have expressed our support for a negotiated vaccine mandate. As an AFT Vice President, I helped craft our national position on vaccine mandates. But let us not forget that while a vaccine mandate is warranted and very important, nearly 90% of educators nationwide have been vaccinated.”
The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers estimates that 90% of educators nationwide have been vaccinated and that Philadelphia likely follows this data.
CBS3 spoke to teachers and parents ahead of the meeting who were vocal on the matter.
Parents told Eyewitness News their concern came from the Delta variant pushing COVID case numbers even higher.MORE NEWS: COVID Outbreak At Robbinsville High School Cancels In-Person Classes For A Week
CBS3’s Wakisha Bailey and Alicia Roberts contributed to this report.