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WATCH: CPS superintendent talks full return, student vaccinations


Columbia Public Schools returned to full-time in-person learning Monday.

CPS Superintendent Peter Stiepleman joined ABC 17 News This Morning Tuesday to talk about the return.

"As you might expect, there was just a lot of jubilation," Stiepleman said. "Were there challenges? Absolutely."

As of Monday, the district reported 53.8 percent of staff, or 1,843 employees, had received the coronavirus vaccine. This percentage is up just .04 from March 24.

Stiepleman said the district is working to update those numbers, as he believes some employees were vaccinated through providers outside Boone Health. The hospital has a contract with CPS to provide staff with coronavirus and flu vaccinations.

"Many of our employees have gone and found other ways or other locations to get their vaccine, so the only way we know is if they tell us," Stiepleman said.

The school district has not collected data on the number of students who have received coronavirus vaccines. Pfizer is currently the only shot authorized for emergency use in people 16 or older.

Stiepleman said while vaccination against COVID-19 is not mandatory for adults nor students, the district is looking ahead to possible vaccination clinics for students. They would be organized similarly to flu vaccination clinics that are offered throughout Columbia.

"The rules have not changed yet in terms of whether or not (vaccinated students) have to quarantine and things like that," Stiepleman said. "We're closely monitoring that. We're closely talking to the health department, because every opportunity that we can update our plan, we will."

CPS is also preparing for some big changes. On Tuesday, Boone County voters will elect two school board members from a five-person field.

A new superintendent will also take the district's reins on July 1. The Columbia Board of Education selected Dr. H. Brian Yearwood to fill the role. Yearwood is currently the chief operations officer for the Manor Independent School District in Manor, Texas.

"The transition is really important to him," Stiepleman said. "I know that he is planning to put together a transition team that will include internal and external stakeholders."

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Molly Stawinoga

Molly Stawinoga is ABC 17’s weekday morning anchor and a reporter at ABC 17 News. Molly joined the news team in 2017 while studying political science, journalism and Spanish at the University of Missouri. She is originally from DeKalb, Illinois.


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