Item Coversheet

Action Item - 1.

Title: Authorization of COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for School District of Philadelphia Employees

Board of Education Meeting Date:

Action under consideration


WHEREAS, The School District of Philadelphia (School District) intends for all children to be able to attend school for full in-person learning, five days a week, during the 2021-2022 school year; and


WHEREAS, the School District is relying on layered strategies to help combat COVID-19 and virus variants (COVID-19) so that students can learn in school buildings, including but not limited to, vaccination, masking, social distancing, hand hygiene, on site COVID-19 testing, and quarantining/isolating; and


WHEREAS, the School District has stressed the importance of and helped to facilitate access to the COVID-19 vaccination for employees, families, and age-eligible students, and partnered with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to make COVID-19 vaccinations available to all School District employees during the 2020-2021 school year and summer months; and


WHEREAS, notwithstanding this effort and the significant number of employees who have been vaccinated to date, several thousand employees are believed to not yet be vaccinated; and


WHEREAS, children under age 12 and persons with certain medical conditions are not currently able to receive the COVID-19 vaccination; and


WHEREAS, pursuant to the Pennsylvania Public School Code, it is within the authority of the Board of Education of The School District of Philadelphia to adopt and enforce such reasonable rules and regulations as it may deem appropriate regarding the management of its school affairs, which include prioritizing efforts to promote the health and safety of students and staff against COVID-19; and


WHEREAS, the School District and the Board of Education have consulted with experts regarding relative risks and benefits of mandating the COVID-19 vaccine, including the benefits to children of being in school for full in-person learning; the disease prevention and mitigation benefits from, and safety and efficacy of, the COVID-19 vaccine; and considerations of equity for students and staff; and


WHEREAS, while the School District and the Board of Education recognize that students and staff may be exposed to COVID-19 outside of the educational setting, the risk of exposure in the school setting is expected to decrease as the number of persons who are vaccinated increases, and reducing exposure to and the incidence of COVID-19 is expected to result in fewer missed days of school and more in-person learning days for children and staff and, consequently, improved student achievement; now therefore be it


RESOLVED that the Board of Education hereby delegates the authority and directs the Superintendent, or his designees, to:


(i)      develop and implement a mandatory vaccination plan through which all School District employees will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and to submit appropriate proof of full vaccination status to the School District;


(ii)     develop and implement a process for submission to and consideration by the School District of appropriate requests for exemption from the vaccination requirement and potential accommodations, which may be based on certain documented medical circumstances or sincerely held religious beliefs;


(iii)    identify categories of contracted personnel and service providers who must be fully vaccinated in order to work in School District facilities, on School District property, and/or in the presence of School District staff or students (such as, contractors providing student transportation services), and require those impacted contractors to submit appropriate proof of full vaccination status for such personnel;


(iv)   enlist School District labor partners to help support and promote the vaccine mandate; and


(v)     develop and carry out appropriate strategies to reach full vaccination compliance, which may involve, but are not limited to, targeted communications, access to accurate scientific information, ease of access to the vaccine, vaccine mandate compliance incentives, and/or progressive discipline for personnel who do not timely comply with the vaccination requirement and/or submit appropriate documentation of vaccination status.

 Office Originating Request: Board of Education