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Richmond’s Mayor, Superintendent disagree with COVID-19 vaccine mandate reversal

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 3:06 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - It’s another exchange of words between Richmond’s Mayor and the Richmond School Board. This time over the board’s decision to undo a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

“We do not think that it’s a school district’s place to be taking teacher pay and or terminating persons particularly now when we are the middle of this staffing crisis,” said Jonathan Young, Richmond School Board.

Monday night, the school board removed disciplinary action from a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all school staff. It was similar to the one enacted by Mayor Levar Stoney for all city staff under his control.

“You cannot enact a public health mandate and then tear out the teeth of said mandate. It’s essentially the school board now asking for 29 individuals out of roughly 3,000, pretty please get the vaccine,” said Mayor Levar Stoney, City of Richmond.

School board members said the change was due to more than two dozen recent resignations.

“It made zero sense to when we are enduring this staffing crisis to prompt so many of our teachers to have to leave the district we now have 100 teacher vacancies,” said Young.

Even though he voted for the reversal, school board member Jonathan Young says everyone should get a vaccine, adding he has his.

“I don’t like the idea that my own children let alone anyone else’s children will potentially going to school with staff that are not vaccinated,” said Jason Kamras, Richmond Public Schools Superintendent.

Now the superintendent is notifying staff about the policy change so those still on the fence about the vaccine don’t have to worry anymore, but Kamras does not agree with the decision.

If those who resigned want to come back, Kamras says they can.

“I can’t promise anyone that their exact positions will still be available and so they would have to understand it’s not as simple as saying yes I’d like to come back but we would welcome anyone back,” said Kamras.

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