MPS board unanimously passes employee vaccine mandate

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- COVID-19 vaccines will soon be mandated for teachers and staff at Milwaukee Public Schools.

The measure was approved during a special board meeting Thursday night, Sept. 9.

MPS staff need to be vaccinated by Nov. 1 or agree to regular Covid testing.

The meeting came a week into the new school year. 

Some went back in August, like Morse Middle School -- now the first to shut down for 10 days due to Covid cases.

In the last two weeks, six staff and nine students tested positive for Covid at Morse, enough to make them quarantine until Sept. 20 and prompting concern that more may need to be done to keep kids safe. 

"We want to make sure that anybody who is working in a school building with our students is vaccinated," said Bob Peterson, president of the Milwaukee School Board.

Amy Mizialko, president of the Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association, says the union supports the mandate

The board said exceptions to the mandate would be made for medical and religious reasons. 

Those approved would still need to get tested twice a week in the medical community. 

Doctors say the vaccine is a good decision.

"The best thing parents can do is vaccinate themselves. We know all the data that we've seen, it is community into the schools, it's not schools coming out. So the kids are getting it in the community," said Dr. Kristin Bencik of Children's Wisconsin.

The board also talked about incentives for employees to get the vaccine.

"I think there are also individuals who might want to come to a district that has a mandate for vaccines, because they might feel safer," said an MPS board member.  "And I cannot emphasize enough, we cannot have another year like last year. Our kids can't do it. We have got to find a way to support them and to keep them in school and to keep them safe."

The MPS board is still discussing possible incentives to get the staff vaccinated.

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