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Principals unsure how vaccine mandate will affect staff

Local principals are unsure how the recently approved COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all school district employees will affect them and their schools.

On Sept. 2, Clark County School District’s Board of School Trustees approving have Superintendent Jesus Jara create and implement a plan requiring district employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Mitchell Elementary School Principal Benjamin Day said he has yet to receive any guidance about the mandate.

“My understanding is that the board authorized the superintendent to develop and implement a policy that would ultimately require CCSD employees to be vaccinated,” he said. “Now that the superintendent has that approval, he can … begin the process of developing this mandate, which is likely going to take a lot of time. I believe CCSD representatives have said that they will begin working with multiple parties, including employee unions, to begin this process, so I think it is going to be a while before we really know what this will entail and how it will affect us.”

“I have no idea how it will affect our school or the teachers in our school,” said Melanie Teemant, principal of Garrett Junior High School. “Basically, the board’s vote was to give Dr. Jara the go-ahead to create a policy on this.”

King Elementary School Principal Jason Schrock also said that he doesn’t know how the vaccine mandate could affect the school.

“There will be a lot for the superintendent to consider as he develops this policy,” he said. “The timeline that employees will have to become vaccinated, the process by which employees seek exemptions and, of course, the various religious and medical reasons that exemptions might be granted. Once we know those details I will have a much better idea of how this might affect King.”

CCSD Public Information Officer Mauricio Marin said nothing is changing right now for teachers as the approved resolution just provides the superintendent the ability to determine the plan and work on it with the district’s five bargaining units.

He also said there is no timeline yet for when it will be completed or implemented.

According to the school district, the mandate will include a process for requesting exemptions for either medical conditions or for sincerely held religious beliefs.

This mandate applies only to CCSD employees and not students.

It was approved with a 5-1 vote after five hours of public comments. Trustee Danielle Ford voted against it and Trustee Katie Williams wasn’t in attendance for the vote.

Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Julie Wootton-Greener contributed to this report.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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