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CPS board strikes ‘balance’ in vaccine policy with employee right to refuse

Employees that refuse to get vaccinated must get tested weekly.
Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 6:21 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education on Monday voted unanimously to require that all employees get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Exemptions are allowed if an employee can prove they have a medical or genuine religious reason not to get the vaccine.

An employee can also refuse to get it without reason.

In both cases, the employees must show proof of weekly negative COVID tests.

Board Vice President Ryan Messer said the board made the decision to allow for the exemptions (give “a little bit of an out”) because they were concerned the district would lose teachers with a hard mandate.

“I think we all agree that what we’ve heard is that people who have to go through the weekly testing pretty quickly get on board with the fact that it’s pretty easy to go ahead and get the vaccine,” he said. “What we can’t afford is to not have people in our buildings to educate our kids, so we’re trying to balance that.”

The proposed resolution coming into Monday night’s board meeting can be found here. It does not necessarily reflect what the board approved.

Under the policy, all district employees and co-located partners are required to receive at least the first vaccine dose by Oct. 1.

A co-located partner includes health partners, resource coordinators, school resource officers, and other partners working out of a district building.

Medical and religious exemptions apply.

The board on Monday also approved a resolution selecting a search firm to assist in the search for a new superintendent.

“We are excited to partner with Alma Advisory Group on what is one of the most critical functions a board of education can undertake, the selection of its chief executive,” said Board Vice President Ryan Messer. “We look forward to gathering community input and launching a national search to ensure the best possible field of candidates from which to select the next CPS superintendent on behalf of our students, families, community and employees.”

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