COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Educators are included in Phase 1B of Missouri's COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, the next group in line. As of right now, there are no plans to require teachers or staff to get vaccinated.
Brent Ghan, the Deputy Executive Director of the Missouri School Board Association, said the group is looking into policy surrounding vaccine mandates. The association did not have any recommendations for districts now, but Ghan noted the vaccine could help continue in-person learning.
"As the vaccine becomes more available and accessible to teachers, I think that would probably help a great deal with some of the staffing issues that school districts are facing right now," Ghan said.
Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services requires several vaccinations for K-12 students, but none for staff.
Vaccines required for students:
- DTaP/DTP/DT (Diphtheria,Tetanus, Acellular Pertussis)
- Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Acellular Pertussis)
- MCV (Meningococcal Conjugate)
- IPV (Polio)
- MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)
- Hepatitis B
- Varicella (chickenpox)
If the coronavirus vaccine were to be required to attend or work in schools, it would be up to health officials. DHSS could require vaccines in a similar way they do the ones that are already mandated for students. Local health authorities, like Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services, would require the vaccine through a public health order.
Several school leaders said it is too early to say whether the vaccine will be required.
"Requiring the vaccine will be something that the health department or the state of Missouri will have to address," Columbia Public Schools spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said. "Keep in mind that school districts are not health providers. We are doing what we can with the guidance and direction of local and state health officials."
Christian Basi, the spokesman for the University of Missouri, told ABC 17 News in an email that there are no plans to require the vaccine for students and/or staff.
Sam Fleury, the senior director of strategic communications at Columbia College, said the college does not require staff to have any vaccinations.
"Our leadership team is evaluating options and availability related to the COVID-19 vaccination before making that decision for members of our campus community," Fleury said.
Though Ghan has not heard of any communities moving to Phase 1B of vaccinations and beginning to vaccinate educators, he said that moment is near.
“It looks like it may be happening very, very quickly, Ghan said. "I think that's really good news. It is important for teachers to be a high priority here, no doubt.”
No coronavirus vaccines have been approved for use in people under the age of 16 as of Wednesday.