Evers supports mandatory teacher vaccines, Wisconsin school districts divided on mask mandates

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Governor Tony Evers (D-WI), wants conversations on teacher vaccine mandates to happen in Wisconsin after seeing them gain support in other areas.

"Teacher unions and boards in New York City and LA and Chicago and Broward County, Florida come together and say, yes, our staff need to be vaccinated," Evers said.

The Milwaukee Public School Board took their first official step in that direction Tuesday, Aug. 17, voting unanimously to study whether a mandate is possible.

"We're taking another step forward, hopefully, because we know that the delta variant is out of control," Bob Peterson said.

The Burlington School Board is moving in the other direction, voting Tuesday to make masks optional in schools.

"I think it's difficult for a student to see teachers," Burlington School Board President Peter Turke said. "I mean we heard a lot from our community members who are opposed to mandatory masking...it can be uncomfortable for students."

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has strongly recommended all districts enact a mask policy, but they cannot require it.

"I know that there is a lot of pressure," Wisconsin Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly said. "I know that some school districts are in tough spots just because it is becoming one of those things that is so political."

The MPS board estimates the earliest they could enact a mandatory vaccine policy for teachers is mid-late September.

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