RPS superintendent to recommend vaccine mandate for staff in Monday meeting

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 5:49 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2021 at 6:21 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras will recommend that staff be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine at Monday night’s school board meeting.

Kamras included his recommendation in his RPS Direct update earlier in the month.

He said that over 250 students have been quarantined during summer school as the result of positive COVID cases. There have also been seven positive cases among students at Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts, putting another 50 children in quarantine.

Another five teachers also tested positive last week, across eight different schools.

“This is why RPS has a 100% mask-wearing policy, which we will maintain for as long as necessary. It’s also why we’ve invested millions in air quality improvements, upgraded our bathrooms with touchless paper towel and soap dispensers, modernized our custodial equipment, and enhanced our disinfecting protocols. But we need to do more,” the update said.

Kamras will make the recommendation to the school board on Aug. 16. The board will then have to vote on the matter.

“I don’t do so lightly. I recognize that many RPS staff members still feel uncertain about getting the vaccine. While I certainly respect everyone’s individual perspective on this issue, we have a collective obligation as a school division to do everything humanly possible to protect the health and safety of our students and staff. Requiring the vaccine will help us do that. It will also help us keep school open – which is critical for our students’ academic, mental, and physical health; and our families’ economic stability,” Kamras said.

This comes a day after Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney imposed a vaccine mandate for city employees.

School board member Jonathan Young released the following statement:

“Vaccinated since I was first afforded the opportunity this spring, I encourage everyone to get the shot but to adopt a big-brother government mandate constitutes a gross abuse of persons’ civil liberties.”

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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