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BCSB requires new hires to be fully vaccinated

Four weeks into the school year, Human Resources Director Brooke Marshall told the school board the school district has had an unprecedented number of new hires.
Published: Sep. 18, 2021 at 9:44 PM MDT
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HAILEY, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — After approving a mask mandate a month ago, the Blaine County School Board took another aggressive approach to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in their schools. On Tuesday night, the board decided all new hires must be fully vaccinated.

Four weeks into the school year, Human Resources Director Brooke Marshall told the school board the school district has had an unprecedented number of new hires.

To keep students, teachers and staff safe, the board approved a motion requiring all new hires must be fully vaccinated before starting or show proof they have received at least one shot with a second one scheduled. However, there are religious and medical exemptions to the mandate.

Chairman Keith Roark of the BCSB said “If someone wants to be hired and doesn’t want to be vaccinated I think that question just answers itself. Go find another job.”

The board’s decision was not a unanimous one(4-1), as one trustee felt the decision was an overreach.

“I don’t think forcing anyone at this point to be vaccinated (is the right direction). It’s their body and their choice,” said trustee Amber Larna.

She also felt the vaccine mandate was a contradiction considering there are teachers and staff employed in the district who are not fully vaccinated, as well as, students. She pointed out the school district already has a mask mandate in place to mitigate the spread.

Roark said there is nothing they can do about people who are already under contract. He added there is something they can do about people who are coming in, so they can stay consistent with COVID policies in place. Their goal is to maintain in-person learning for the entire school year.

Trustee Lara Stone said the vaccination mandate just adds one more player for protection for students, teachers and staff.

“Vaccination is the most effective way to do that, and masking is the second most effective to do that,” said Stone. “None of them alone will provide complete protection.”

Marshall said according to a recent vaccination status survey, of the 373 who responded, 94 percent said they are fully vaccinated. The survey was anonymous and confidential.

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