COVID-19 vaccine deadline arrives for School District of Philadelphia employees

Employees will continue to be tested weekly, and employees who did not get vaccinated will have to undergo bi-weekly testing.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- September 30 marked the deadline for all Philadelphia School District employees and staff to show proof they received the COVID-19 vaccine.

All staff will continue to be tested weekly for the foreseeable future and employees who did not get vaccinated will have to undergo bi-weekly testing and will lose the special time off granted to those who contract COVID.

Spokesperson Monica Lewis stressed school will not be interrupted because of the mandate.

"It doesn't mean we're going to automatically release people who aren't vaccinated. No one will be released because of a vaccination status, but have them understand if they were to test positive for COVID or come in close contact with someone with COVID they no longer have access to their direct quarantine leave," said Lewis.

Lewis added that by early September one-third of the district's 19,000 employees had reported their status. It will take time to process information the school received up until the end of business Thursday.

RELATED: Long haul COVID symptoms affect 1/3 of survivors, University of Oxford study finds

The school district is one of many businesses hitting deadlines for vaccine mandates. The City of Philadelphia is reporting only 32% of their employees, or 9,403, are fully vaccinated. The city made its deadline September 1, and those who did not comply must double-mask.

However, city leaders are not requiring those employees to get tested.

6abc asked a city spokesperson what's being done to raise that number.

"While we know for certain that about 32% are vaccinated, we believe that number to be far higher in actuality because staff in many departments do not access computers (and thus cannot easily upload vaccination cards) as part of their daily jobs (e.g Streets, etc.) Departments continue to work with HR managers to update this. The city continues to provide educational resources regarding vaccine safety," said spokesperson Kevin Lessard. "In addition, for non-uniformed employees, the city is offering four hours of time off for providing proof of their vaccination. We are also giving corrections officers $150 or $200."

RELATED: Proposed bill would require COVID vaccine, negative test for domestic air travel ahead of holidays

In checking with Philadelphians, we got a mixed response of people opting to get vaccinated and what rules they think should be in the workplace.

Rahim Bey of Mount Airy is retired and does not want the vaccine, but said if his livelihood depended on it, he would get it.

"If I worked for a company then and I was forced to do it, then I'd do it," he said.

Photographer Tricia Pompililo of Queen Village, who does family portraits, says as a small business owner she has to make her own rules but supports mandates in the workplace.

"I do families (portraits) and we do stuff outside, and if we do it inside I make sure the family is vaccinated and I have a mask on," she said.
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.