PHILADELPHIA - The COVID vaccines work and trust the science are the messages doctors continue to stress. Now, Philadelphia schools are weighing a vaccine mandate for teachers and staff. Three weeks before the start of a new pandemic school year and The School District of Philadelphia’s Superintendent Dr. William Hite drops the news of a possible vaccine mandate amongst district staff.
"We haven’t made a formal request, but have started the conversation about mandating vaccines," Dr. Hite mentioned.
In a letter to his members, teachers’ union President Jerry Jordan says there have been no discussions about a possible mandate. However, it is something they support, if it’s negotiated and includes religious and medical exemptions, saying in a statement:
"This union has never and will never, stand in the way of the health and safety of educators and students alike."
"We’re not gonna get back to a sense of normal until everybody is vaccinated," Niki Delrossi stated.
Delrossi, of Queen Village, says she and her stepson, Charlie, would feel more comfortable returning to school if teachers and staff were required to be vaccinated.
"I don’t wanna get infected," Charlie stated.
"I think that’s an intelligent, well-informed decision. I think teachers should be vaccinated. It’s for their safety, safety of students and everyone around them," parent Priya Sripathy commented.
Currently, the school district is planning to require masks for all and weekly testing for staff members.
Mayor Kenney says it’s important to get students reacquainted with in-person learning, but it needs to be done safely.
"We have all been through a great deal over the past year and it is my sincere hope that by getting students back into the school buildings on a regular basis, we can start to restore some sense of normalcy for our young people," Mayor Kenney explained.