Milwaukee School Board president wants mandatory vaccines for teachers

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee School Board President Bob Peterson said vaccinating teachers for COVID-19 is an important part of a healthy fall semester.

"Teachers obviously are face-to-face with kids," Peterson said. "They are working with other adults. They see families."

On Tuesday, Aug. 17, Peterson will direct MPS to investigate if a staff vaccine mandate is legal, what kinds of wavers can be requested, and weekly testing options for the unvaccinated.

Peterson said it is not quite the same as a vaccine mandate from a business.

"There are some different legal requirements that we might have to follow, so our lawyers -- we use the city attorneys -- will be asked to give us a full rundown of any issues."

Not all districts are considering a mandate. Burlington School Board President Peter Turke said they are doing well enough with a voluntary system.

"I'm really proud," Turke said. "Our district just found out we're at 85 percent."

The Milwaukee Teachers Education Association sent the statement, "Vaccines are key to keeping MPS staff, students and our community safe and eventually returning to some degree of normalcy. We strongly encourage anyone who is eligible to get their vaccine as soon as possible.”

Peterson said the public is welcome to weigh in when he introduces the study Aug. 17.

"We're a public institution, and we take seriously our responsibility to answer to the public, so we want to get public input."

If the mandate ends up passing, it is not expected to take effect until after the new school year has started.

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