September 14, 2021
School District of Philadelphia teachers, staff and other personnel have roughly two weeks to provide proof of having received a COVID-19 vaccine.
All district employees must submit their COVID-19 vaccination statuses by Sept. 30, according to new directives issued Monday.
Those who do not provide proof will need to undergo COVID-19 testing twice per week starting Oct. 4. Fully-vaccinated employees are required to undergo COVID-19 testing once a week.
Non-compliant employees may be subjected to discipline if they do not to share their vaccination status by the deadline. It is unclear what the discipline would be, but unvaccinated employees will not lose their jobs, WHYY reported.
However, the district has implemented several parameters that could make it more difficult for unvaccinated employees who contract COVID-19 during the school year.
Unvaccinated teachers and staffers who test positive for COVID-19 will not be allowed to use any of the school district's 10 paid quarantine leave days. Instead, they would need to use sick or personal days.
If unvaccinated employees do not have enough sick or personal days to cover their quarantine period, they would need to take time off without pay.
The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, which represents about 13,000 educators and other school district personnel, has approved the policy. Roughly 6,000 of the district's 20,000 employees already have submitted their COVID-19 vaccination statuses.
The school board voted unanimously last month to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for all employees, including contracted and service employees who work on school property.
At the time, district officials did not set a deadline for employees to submit their COVID-19 vaccination statuses. Superintendent William Hite said the district would negotiate with its unions to develop "meaningful consequences" for non-compliant employees.
Vaccine exemptions are only being granted for certain medical and religious reasons.
Only students ages 12 and up are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. At this point, they are not required by the school district to be vaccinated. Last week, the Los Angeles Unified School District became the first major district in the U.S. to require eligible students to be vaccinated.
Students are not subject to COVID-19 testing unless they experience symptoms or are a close contact of someone who tested positive. All teachers and students are required to wear face masks.