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School Board Voted to Require Covid Vaccination for all RPS Teachers, Staff, Contractors, Partners, and Volunteers

The vote was 8-1 in favor of the mandated vaccination.

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Last night the Richmond School board voted 8-1 in favor of Superintendent Jason Kamras’ push that all RPS teachers, staff, contractors, partners, and volunteers be required to get the Covid-19 vaccine. The deadline for the vaccination is October 1st approximately three weeks after the start of most schools. Employees can get an exemption from the vaccination for medical or religious reasons.

The lone dissenting vote was Johnathan Young of the 4th District. He feels it’s an issue of trust, “We consistently portray a messaging that we don’t trust them” he stated.

Just last week the entire 4th grade class of Patrick Henry School was quarantined due to 9 positive Covid-19 cases.

You can read RPS’ Health and Safety Measures for Fall 2021 In-Person Instruction. The document outlines all the measures including mask-wearing, physical distancing, HVAC improvements, and more. Below is the section concerning vaccination. It doesn’t reflect the recent board vote mandating vaccination.

Vaccination is the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Vaccinating staff, and students when eligible for vaccination, is a critical layer of prevention and protection for all. Achieving high levels of vaccination among eligible students, teachers and staff is one of the most critical strategies to help schools safely operate.

  • Pending Board approval, RPS will require all staff to show proof of vaccination by October 1.
  • For those RPS staff who are not yet vaccinated, please check with your healthcare provider or find a location to get a free COVID-19 vaccine at vaccinate.virginia.gov. Additionally, RPS will continue to partner with RCHD/VDH to hold vaccination events.
  • Medical and religious exemptions will be granted on a case-by-case basis. To inquire about these exemptions, employees should email the Talent Office at [email protected]; anyone granted an exemption will need to provide proof of a negative COVID test on a weekly basis.
  • Employees who do not meet the October 1 deadline (save for those who are granted an exemption) will be subject to progressive discipline, including loss of employment.
  • The vaccine mandate will also apply to contractors, partners, and volunteers. They will receive additional information about this directly from the Talent Office.
  • While students are not included in the vaccine mandate, we strongly encourage all RPS students aged 12 and older to get vaccinated.

The Richmond and Henrico Health Districts are continuing to host free walk-up vaccination events. You can find the full list as well as a way to find local pharmacies that are vaccinating here.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.