by Guy Page
The parent organization of the Vermont NEA – the 12,000 member state teachers’ union – is considering a recommendation for mandatory vaccination of all students and staff before face-to-face instruction begins this fall.
The proposal, Business Item #33, is on the agenda awaiting debate at the virtual Annual Meeting and Representative Assembly of the National Education Association, being held June 30 – July 3.
The proposal reads as follows: “The NEA will call for mandatory safe and effective COVID-19 vaccinations and testing for all students and staff before returning to face-to-face instruction in the fall, subject to medical exceptions in accordance with existing law, and will widely publicize this position via social media. We will further call for and publicize that safety measures such as social distancing, masking, and proper ventilation be mandatory for all.”
It is not known where Vermont delegates stand on mandatory vaccination. In March, VT-NEA President Don Tinney said “vaccinating school employees is a key factor in any decision to offer full in-person instruction.” However, he did not then specifically call for a mandate.
Gov. Scott has made recent statements opposing mandatory K-12 school vaccination. Asked by Vermont Daily May 21 about mandatory vaccination at public schools, Scott said, “I don’t see a path forward.”
Speaking of unions, the Vermont AFL-CIO won’t argue for mandates, but neither will it defend members who wish to decline vaccination.