Milwaukee requires vaccines for school staff

Milwaukee has become the latest school district to require all staff to be vaccinated. The decision was made during a special school board meeting Thursday and all school district employees will need to be vaccinated by November 11, according to a news release.

While the district will allow religious and medical exemptions, those individuals will be required to be tested for COVID-19 twice per week. This model follows several other major school districts and states, like New York City, where the mandate for school staff is even stricter. Testing won’t be an acceptable alternative to the vaccine, CBS New York reports. 

Similarly, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced last month that all Chicago Public School employees will need to be fully vaccinated by October 15, unless they qualify for a medical or religious exemption, CBS Chicago reported. Those with a vaccination exemption must be tested weekly throughout the school year.

Governor Gavin Newsom last month mandated all school staff members get vaccinated or receive regular testing. And on Thursday, the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest school district in the country, voted to require COVID-19 vaccines for students 12 and older.

During Thursday’s meeting, the Milwaukee Board of School Directors also unanimously approved a $100 incentive for students age 12 and older to receive the vaccine. 

“The COVID-19 vaccine is one of the most effective strategies to mitigate the spread of the virus,” said Superintendent Keith P. Posley. “We owe it to our students, teachers, staff, and community to take all possible steps to ensure safe schools.”

The school district will provide details on how to submit proof of vaccination, get tested and request accommodations in the coming days, according to the release.

The district’s announcement comes the same day President Joe Biden announced sweeping regulations on COVID-19 vaccines. The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration will companies and business with at least 100 employees require vaccinations or weekly testing for unvaccinated workers. Companies that fail to comply could face fines of $14,000 per violation, Mr. Biden said. 

Mr. Biden announced vaccination requirements for health care providers that accept Medicare and Medicaid, for all federal employees and contractors and for the staffs of Head Start programs, Department of Defense Schools and Bureau of Indian Education-operated schools.