DC area schools to discipline employees who have not reported vaccination status

Employees at schools in the Washington, D.C. region will soon face repercussions after failing to comply with coronavirus vaccination deadlines. 

While the vast majority of staffers at these schools are already vaccinated, some have been placed on leave and at least one has been fired, The Washington Post reported this week.

At Montgomery County Public Schools, Maryland's largest school district, more than 460 employees will receive a letter of reprimand and lose a day's worth of pay for failure to report their vaccine status, Chris Cram, a spokesperson for the district, told the Post.

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Elsewhere in Maryland, Prince George’s County Public Schools terminated an employee for not adhering to its vaccination policies, which allowed for a testing option. While other employees in the county have also been placed on leave, spokeswoman Meghan Gebreselassie said the system did not know the exact number of people who had been reprimanded as each case was usually handled at the school or office level, the Post reported. 

Despite these disciplinary measures, some school systems, including Montgomery County, have loosened their COVID-19 protocol as a result of staffing shortage concerns and more students as young as 5 receiving their shots. 

Employees at Montgomery County Public Schools who have reported their vaccination status can now opt for weekly testing in lieu of receiving the vaccine itself, the newspaper added. 

"There is progressive discipline in place if they do not test weekly," Cram told the Post.

"It is important to assure we are fully staffed and meet our operational needs," he said. "We will also continue to work with all of these [unvaccinated] employees to make sure they understand the importance of our mitigation strategies, including vaccination," he added, saying that the school system had a 95 percent employee vaccination rate. 

While policies, requirements and vaccination deadlines have varied among school districts, most systems require unvaccinated staffers to test negative for COVID-19 each week, according to the Post. 

The Hill has reached out to the school systems in Montgomery County and Prince George County for comment.