LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — Board members for the School District of Lancaster unanimously voted to require a testing mandate for all teachers and staff. The decision will affect approximately 1,600 staff members.
“Many of our students cannot be vaccinated yet and the way to keep the classrooms safe is to have as many people vaccinated as possible,” Dr. Edith Gallagher, school board president said. “We’re trying to keep our classrooms safe, healthy, and open because we know that’s the best place for students to learn.”
Employees will be tested up to two times per week unless they show proof of vaccination. The testing method will be determined by the district administration. Any employee who does not comply will face disciplinary action.
“That’s something that the administration is working on with the bargaining units, with the unions,” Gallagher said. “They are having meetings over the next week or two to discuss.”
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The district will also reach out to Shultz and Faithful, the transportation service for the district, to review their employee vaccination and testing strategies.
A school board member said a survey was given to teachers with the vast majority of them supporting the policy. However, the Lancaster Education Association president says some will leave.
“There are 93 people, 93 teaching staff that according to the survey, would seek other employment if we would go with the COVID testing, 15 of those teachers would immediately resign their positions, so I hope you would take into consideration that piece alone, how it’s going to affect the classrooms,” Jason Malloy, president of Lancaster Education Association said.
The latest data shows between 85% to 90% of school staff members in Pennsylvania are already vaccinated.