WASHINGTON — D.C.’s Rocketship public charter schools have announced that they will be requiring all staff to get a COVID-19 vaccine or face a forced resignation.
The new policy was announced even before President Joe Biden ordered sweeping new federal vaccine requirements for as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant. His announcement mandated that all employers with more than 100 workers require employees to be vaccinated or test for COVID-19 weekly.
In a letter to Rocketeer families, the school system says that many students have already had to quarantine during the school year, which began on Aug. 19., or students have had to return to virtual learning due to staff members having to quarantine.
“We understand this puts a large burden on our families who must support their students' virtual learning from home. It also puts a large burden on other staff members who remain on-campus and must cover the gaps,” the letter reads.
“Ongoing classroom closures pose a serious risk to our students' social-emotional development and academic growth. We must make every effort to prioritize the needs of the whole child by keeping our classrooms open and safe. That is why we are now enforcing a policy that all employees of Rocketship Public Schools DC must be fully vaccinated by October 29, 2021.”
The school system confirmed that employees who don’t get vaccinated and don't receive a Rocketship-approved exemption won’t be working there starting Oct. 30.
“While vaccination is a personal choice, it is a choice that impacts the health and well-being of our entire school community.”
The letter confirmed that a majority of staff are already vaccinated. The school system also plans to coordinate mobile vaccination clinics at campuses over the next two weeks.
“The data clearly shows that people who are unvaccinated are significantly more likely to be hospitalized and are significantly more likely to spread COVID-19 to others,” the school system stated in the letter.
Rocketship confirmed that they will continue all health and safety measures on campus, including mask-wearing, ventilation, hand washing and cleaning procedures.