Minot Head Start to fire 18% of staff over vaccine mandate

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — The Minot Head Start program is preparing to fire 18% of its staff next month because they won’t comply with a federal mandate to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Minot Daily News reported Friday that the program is entirely funded with federal dollars so teaches and staff must comply with the mandate by January.

Head Start Director Karen Knowles told the Minot Public School Board on Thursday that the deadline to get vaccinated has been extended to Jan. 31 but the program will stick with the original Jan. 1 deadline because it’s easier to make the transition after the Christmas break and she doesn’t expect staffers will change their minds about not getting the vaccine.

The firings will mean the program will have to close six Head Start classrooms and three Early Head Start classrooms. About 100 children in Head Start and 16 in Early Head Start will lose their slots. Parents were notified last week.