Minneapolis school board removes COVID-19 vaccine mandate from district staff

Minneapolis school board removes COVID-19 vaccine mandate from district staff

Minneapolis Public Schools will no longer require employees, contractors or volunteers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or request an exception.

The school board voted unanimously Tuesday night to lift one of the last local government vaccination mandates in the Twin Cities.

In a memo to the board, Acting Superintendent Rochelle Cox said approximately 83% of district employees have been vaccinated against COVID-19 since the mandate was enacted. She also said the district added seven paid sick days for its employees this year to allow for isolation to curb the spread of the disease.

Dropping the requirement, Cox said, “is consistent with what our neighboring local government entities have done.”

The city of Minneapolis dropped its vaccination mandate in late September, weeks after Hennepin County stopped requiring employees to receive the vaccine.

The St. Paul School Board also voted to remove that district’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate in late August, while the Anoka-Hennepin District has never required employees to be vaccinated against the virus.

Most school districts have rolled back most of their COVID-19 mitigation measures since the start of the new school year.

The majority of Minnesota students went into the fall without having to wear masks or socially distance at school. The Minnesota Department of Health is still monitoring the number of COVID-19 cases statewide and updating its dashboard weekly to advise state residents on public health precautions to take.

Hennepin County is currently considered low risk.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the school board also heard reports from staff on an upcoming resolution to adopt a universal 8:30 a.m. start time for all high schools in Minneapolis. That’s when the first bell is already ringing in six of the 11 high schools in the district.

Meanwhile, classes at Heritage High start at 7:45 a.m. while school starts at Edison High at 8:15 a.m. with Roosevelt, Henry, and Wellstone starting between those two.

Aligning high school schedules, officials say, will make it easier to schedule shuttles for students to vocational and technical education spaces in the district.

The Board of Directors will vote on this resolution in December.

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