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Clark County teachers, staff consider quitting if COVID vaccine mandate passes

The Clark County School District Headquarters at Sahara and Decatur in Las Vegas as seen in July 2020
Posted at 7:52 PM, Aug 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-31 02:47:05-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — On Wednesday, the Clark County School District will consider a proposed mandate that would require all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The announcement brought with it mixed feelings for those working for CCSD, as well as some concern that many will walk away from their jobs if the mandate is approved.

“There already is a shortage. I’m a substitute. I go into high schools every day and there are 10 to 12 vacancies,” Nicole Anderson said.

RELATED: COVID-19 vaccines may be required for Clark County School District teachers

Anderson has worked as a substitute teacher with CCSD for 5 years. She said she’s considered leaving her position with the school district entirely if the vaccine becomes mandatory.

“At this point, I ask myself if I really want to work for the district. It's going to get worse. I see a lot of people who are not going to be working this job anymore if they mandate this,” Anderson said.

“If people are threatening to walk away because they may need to get vaccinated, to me the people that are really being punished are the students,” Lucas Partridge said. Partridge works as a school counselor with CCSD.

According to CCSD’s website, there are currently 728 job openings. 13 Action News reached out to CCSD asking if they believed the mandate would make that number even greater.

CCSD responded by saying:
“Our top priority remains the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff. Adopting and implementing required vaccination for COVID-19 is the responsible, common-sense course of action we’ve seen many other government agencies, companies, institutions, and organizations pursue. A vaccine mandate for our employees is particularly important in protecting children under age 12 who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated. By vaccinating all educators and staff we further protect and shield our unvaccinated students thereby helping to ensure schools can remain open and safe. Again, the health of our students, staff and the entire community are of paramount importance in fighting this virus, and it takes all of us working together to ensure our success.”

John Vellardita, the executive director for the Clark County Education Association, said there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration.

“There is a significant portion of the population that has issues with that. The district has to come to a bargaining table with those issues. For example, there are legitimate exemptions for people that have medical reasons, religious reasons,” said Vellardita.

The resolution states that the district would consider exemption requests and “potential accommodations, which may be based on certain documented medical circumstances or sincerely held religious beliefs.”

The draft does not include a proposed timeline for when employees would have to be vaccinated.