Philadelphia, New Jersey expected to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for school workers

"We have the responsibility of taking care of thousands of our children every day," said PFT President Jerry Jordan.

Friday, August 20, 2021
Philadelphia, NJ expected to mandate vaccines for school workers
By next week, there could be a mandate that teachers in the School District of Philadelphia be vaccinated against COVID-19.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The School District of Philadelphia has released its proposal for a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all district personnel.

According to the proposal, the school board would authorize Superintendent William Hite to develop a plan to implement the mandate but does not give a timeline. The proposal will be discussed and possibly voted on by the school board during a meeting on Tuesday night.

Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, said the union supports the proposal as one in a series of measures needed to keep children safe.

SEE ALSO: Schools should require masks, Pennsylvania teachers unions say

"We have the responsibility of taking care of thousands of our children every day and thousands of our children from pre-K through seventh grade are under 12-years-old and are not eligible for the vaccine," said Jordan.

Jordan expects the district and the federation will work together to encourage and incentivize staff to get the vaccine.

The proposal calls for a process to evaluate requests for exceptions from the mandate by those with documented medical conditions or deeply held religious beliefs.

Jordan said he does not want the dismissal of anyone who doesn't comply. He is encouraging regular testing instead.

RELATED: New Jersey may require teachers to get vaccinated for COVID-19

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is expected to issue an executive order requiring the state's public school employees to be vaccinated as well.

In a statement, NJEA spokesperson Steven Baker wrote, "we believe that a 'vaccine or testing' requirement like we saw in Gov. Murphy's executive order covering healthcare workers is appropriate and responsible."

It is unclear when Murphy may issue that executive order.