Baltimore City schools not ready to enforce vaccine mandate
BALTIMORE (AP) — School officials in the city of Baltimore say they’re not ready to enforce a requirement that school employees be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Baltimore Sun reported Saturday that the school system had set a Nov. 1 deadline. But school officials have not started enforcing penalties that can include terminating employees who fail to comply.
School officials say they want to work with staff members who have concerns.
About 90% of Baltimore school’s10,000 employees are either vaccinated or have a religious or medical exemption. The rate for teachers is 95%. For principals, it’s 98%.
The rates are slightly higher than those for the Maryland’s adult population. It was 88.5% on Saturday.
Gwendolyn Chambers, a spokeswoman for the school system, said that it is continuing to work with those who have not complied.
“We have progressive discipline measures in place and the specifics of those measures are between city schools and our employees,” Chambers said.
Zachary Taylor, a union leader, raised concerns that “haphazard implementation” of the vaccination policy “would leave schools dangerously understaffed despite having the highest vaccination rates in the state, as well as a far more rigorous testing program than exists in any other large Maryland district.”