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Richmond considering vaccine mandate for school employees

Posted at 11:43 AM, Aug 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 11:50:41-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- When school board members in Richmond meet Monday, they plan to discuss a proposed COVID vaccination mandate for teachers and other staff.

Based off of the presentation that is now posted on the school's website about this mandate, Richmond Superintendent Jason Kamras said if their employees don't get the vaccine or an exemption -- they could lose their jobs.

Kamras will recommend an Oct. 1 deadline for people to provide proof they are fully vaccinated, and added this should apply to not only school staff, but also other adults who are in school facilities including contractors and volunteers.

It added religious and medical exemptions will be offered on a case-by-case basis and those given one will have to provide weekly negative COVID tests.

Kamras will point to the ongoing surge driven by the Delta variant among the reasons for the mandate -- with cases increasing in the city and the low vaccination rates.

Just over 51% of adults in Richmond are fully vaccinated compared to over 66% for the statewide average, according to data from the Virginia Department of Health.

"Richmond is at about 50% vaccinated. We can assume that RPS is probably in the same neighborhood of that. And that, just frankly, puts a lot of kids, a lot of staff at-risk," said Kamras. "And so, again, we feel it's just critical -- in the same way we require licensure to be on staff -- to require this stuff."

At least one school board member -- 4th District's Jonathan Young -- voiced opposition to the idea back when it was first announced, and said while he was vaccinated and encouraged others to do so, he called it a "big brother government mandate."

The school board meeting will take place at 6 p.m. and will be streamed live on their Facebook page.

CBS 6 will have coverage of the meeting on WTVR.com.