With nationwide Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations currently underway, schools might be adjusting their operations. However, what happens when schools insist that everyone needs to be vaccinated before they enter the buildings? Parents and teachers are looking for straightforward answers, but much will depend on where they live.
States have different vaccination requirements for their schools, and some immunizations are already mandated, such as measles, mumps, rubella, and polio. However, some experts believe that a majority of the states will require that children and staff get vaccinated. Exemptions also come into play in some states for religious, philosophical, and personal reasons.
In some states, teachers and school staff were placed on priority lists and many have already been vaccinated. Some employees may be able to obtain exemptions if mandatory vaccination requirements are enforced. The employer would possibly need to make a reasonable accommodation for the employee. Along the same lines, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 could exempt teachers from getting vaccinated because of sincerely-held religious beliefs, observances, or practices.
Should Schools Require COVID-19 Vaccinations?
School administrators may feel that having unvaccinated students and staff members in their buildings imposes undue hardships. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) previously noted that COVID-19 presents a direct threat to the health and safety of people. This could increase the likelihood of schools mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for staff and students, but more state and federal guidance is needed.
While employers and schools may be able to require the vaccine, it is not recommended, as it can open the institutions up for complex litigation. It is recommended that employers tread carefully regarding mandated vaccinations among employees.
A moan goal is to create a more effective, centralized strategy for reopening schools. For now, states and school districts may want to communicate openly with their employees and students to see how well the responses to COVID-19 related safety measures have been. Demographics, risk factors, and concerns about the vaccine could all be explored in depth before further measures are taken.
Additionally, many people are still unsure if they wanted to get vaccinated, and this could foreshadow what happens in the coming months. Also, COVID-19 vaccine-related lawsuits may be possible when employers mandate that their employees show proof that they were vaccinated in order to be permitted to return to work.
Employers can do their part to encourage employees to get vaccinated and may even be able to assist with distribution. Communicating important facts about the vaccine to employees and sharing information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can help. Some employees can also tie in the vaccine into employee wellness programs. Incentives could also be offered, which could drive up the vaccination rates.
Philadelphia Employment Lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. Help School Administrators, Staff, and Families Navigate COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements
Now that many people are receiving vaccinations, many are left wondering if businesses and schools will require vaccinations. If you have concerns about a COVID-19 requirement, a Philadelphia employment lawyer at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C. can help. Employers should tread carefully when requiring vaccinations, and employees should understand their rights as well. For a confidential, initial consultation, complete our online form or call us at 215-574-0600. We are conveniently located in Philadelphia, and we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.