Upper Merion teachers, staff must be vaccinated or get tested weekly, district says

Lawyer Jeffery Sultanik says the decision was made to have a school year with minimal to no interruptions.
KING OF PRUSSIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The Upper Merion Area School Board in Montgomery County, Pa. voted unanimously to mandate all teachers and staff show either show a proof of a vaccine, or test for COVID twice a week and wear a mask for the upcoming school year.

Action News spoke with the lawyer for the school district, Jeffery Sultanik, who says the decision was made to have a school year with minimal to no interruptions.

"Students are going to be in the district five days a week, and they want to eliminate the chances of impairing the delivering of education to the furthest extent possible," said Sultanik.

He also says if an employee chooses not to comply with the new policy, there will be repercussions.

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"There may initially be a warning, then followed by a suspension without pay, and then maybe a termination," Sultanik added.

Stephen Kozol, president of the local teachers union, says the union fully supports this decision.

"The resolution is permissible under school code and under the collective bargaining agreement. All that needs to be worked out is the logistics," said Kozol.

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Hours after the CDC recommended masks for everyone in schools, the Central Bucks School District decided to make masks optional for the next school year.

Several parents of children attending school within the district expressed their thoughts on the board's decision.

"I wish they would all get vaccinated, and if they're not going to, then they'll have to follow the protocol of the school board," said parent Gina Maiden.

Kristen Gaucker, who is the head athletic trainer at Upper Merion High School, said, "I'm more comfortable working with colleagues who are vaccinated. I would love it if everyone was vaccinated but it's their choice."

Officials say this policy will be in place for as long as COVID-19 is around.

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