TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) -- Baltimore County Schools announced Tuesday that they will require employees to show proof of covid-19 vaccination or to submit to weekly testing.
"We are creating this requirement to protect the health, safety, and well-being of our students and staff during this continuing pandemic," said BCPS Superintendent Dr. Darryl L. Williams. "The move is aligned with our commitment to provide in-person instruction throughout the 2021-2022 school year. Vaccination remains the most effective means of preventing COVID-19 transmission. I encourage everyone eligible to get vaccinated."
Officials said additional details will be shared with employees in a letter from the Office of Health Services.
Leaders of BCPS bargaining units support this decision.
"TABCO's position continues to be a safe reopening based on the science," said Cindy Sexton, TABCO (Teachers Association of Baltimore County) president. "We support a vaccine mandate, and we can't wait to see our students in our classrooms."
"Our collective stance," said Nick Argyros of BCPSOPE, "is that we feel vaccinations provide a safe and healthy work environment. Mandatory vaccinations would help our staff stay healthy so we can succeed in our business of educating children."
In addition to required vaccines or testing for staff and universal masking in all BCPS schools, offices, and buildings, BCPS said the following strategies will also be implemented this upcoming school year:
- Maintaining physical distancing to the greatest extent possible.
- Conducting screening testing to promptly identify cases, clusters, and outbreaks.
- Maintaining ventilation settings for maximal outdoor air intake and maximal filtration.
- Reinforcing handwashing and respiratory etiquette.
- Reinforcing that children and staff should stay home when sick and seek COVID-19 testing if necessary.
- Conducting contact tracing for all cases among students and staff, including enforcing quarantine and isolation to limit spread.
- Cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces daily.
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