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Clark County School District to consider vaccine mandate in emergency meeting

Posted at 6:15 AM, Sep 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-01 10:30:20-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Clark County School District Board of Trustees will decide whether to authorize Supt. Jesus Jara to develop and implement a coronavirus vaccine mandate for all employees in the district Wednesday night.

The resolution is scheduled to be considered at an emergency 5 p.m. meeting that would direct Jara to develop and implement a vaccine mandate plan, carve out medical and religious exemptions for the mandate, identify certain outside contractors that would also have to comply with a vaccine mandate, and create a "progressive discipline" plan for employees who delay or refuse to get the vaccine.

Teachers have been split on complying, and many have threatened to leave the district if the mandate is implemented.

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

Substitute teacher Nicole Anderson said she's hesitant to get the vaccine but believes the mandate is coming despite fear.

"Unfortunately, I'm looking at the other school districts across the country that have already mandated it," she said. "I'm assuming that they're going to."

School counselor Lucas Partridge, on the other hand, said he supports the mandate to reduce the transmission of the deadly virus in packed schools.

"Anyone who is unvaccinated, but could be, is choosing to put those folks at risk," he said.

The Clark County Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, said they believe as many as 1,000 teachers could leave the district if the mandate comes into effect adding to the nearly 800 open positions currently in the district.

On the other hand, CCEA executive director John Vellardita says the union conducted a survey and the vast majority of the 9,000 teachers who responded supported a vaccine mandate within the district.

Vellardita says the district faces a balancing act.

"There is a significant number out there that have said I will quit if I'm mandated," he said. "But there's a significant majority that wants to see vaccines in these classrooms with their colleagues. So, we shouldn't lose sight of that."

Vellardita has two requests for the CCSD Board of Trustees ahead of the vote.

First, he wants the board to demand Jara's administration work closely with unions in developing the plan and that the district provides a plan to deal with contingencies like an exodus of employees like teachers and bus drivers.

Vellardita says if the board doesn't see evidence of those two things before Wednesday's meeting they shouldn't move forward with a vote.