San Antonio ISD Requires Staff Vaccines; Mandates Masks Regardless Of Outcome Of City-County Lawsuit
The San Antonio Independent School District is requiring all employees to show proof they are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by Friday, Oct. 15.
In a letter sent to staff Monday afternoon, SAISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez said the district had led the way with its COVID-19 response since the start of the pandemic, and that now was the time to lead by example once more.
Martinez also sent a letter to families Monday afternoon notifying them he was issuing a mask mandate effective immediately. During a board meeting shortly after the mask mandate was issued, Martinez said SAISD's mandate would remain in place regardless of the outcome of San Antonio and Bexar County’s lawsuit against the governor’s ban on mask mandates.
"We're not responding to the politics, we're responding to what we're seeing in the community. What are we seeing in the community? We're seeing the fact that our positivity rate has risen to over 21% as of last week," Martinez said. "Whenever the positivity rate is this high, we always see cases. We are not seeing cases of transmission within our classrooms, but I'll tell you, I am very concerned about the instability that occurs when we do get cases and we have to quarantine. It is such a hardship for our families. It is such a hardship for our staff."
Based on the number of employees who have signed up for vaccine clinics hosted by the district, SAISD estimates 90% of its employees are already vaccinated. In order to be fully vaccinated by the October deadline, employees who have not yet received the first shot will need to start the process no later than Sept. 10.
Martinez said the staff vaccine requirement follows in the footsteps of several large corporations, and that he expects full FDA approval of the vaccine in the next few weeks.
"We're very proud that last year we didn't see children getting hospitalized getting to the extreme conditions of COVID, but we did have staff members that passed away. And I just I still can't get over that," Martinez said. "This can't happen under our watch (this year)."
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