MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — Days before all Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) employees will be required to have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, an online petition signed by more than 350 people claiming to be teachers and staff has voiced opposition to the plan.
The Montgomery County Public School Board passed a resolution earlier this month requiring all teachers and staff to show proof of the first vaccine by this Thursday.
Proof of the second dose will be required by October 29. MCPS says documented medical exemptions will be accepted.
Previously, unvaccinated employees would have to submit to weekly COVID testing. The unanimous vote also removed the option to instead be tested.
When asked by WUSA9 about what the penalty will be for not following the mandate, both MCPS and the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA) did not comment on possible disciplinary action.
However, an online petition voicing strong opposition to the plan and organized by "Freedom 2Choose" said educators face termination for not following the mandate.
By Monday night, the petition had gathered over 350 signatures from people claiming to be Montgomery County staff and teachers.
"We fail to understand the wisdom of jeopardizing the employment of teachers and other staff at a time when MCPS is already understaffed," the petition read. "Your decision will not only jeopardize the financial lives of many hard-working MCPS teachers and staff, it will further exacerbate the shortages that negatively affect the mission of MCPS."
The organizers later wrote that they did not accept that COVID-19 "is a severe universal threat" and that they hoped MCPS would reverse the vaccine mandate.
Otherwise, they said the district faced many job terminations.
"We are concerned that there will be no end to mandated 'booster' shots, and that today's 'vaccinated' employees will be tomorrow's 'unvaccinated' employees unless they continue to submit," the petition read.
On Monday, MCPS Department of Communications Director Chris Cram told WUSA9 that recent data showed around 80% of employees have received their vaccines.
"MCPS is actively communicating and encouraging vaccination opportunities for employees and helping employees to understand that vaccination is critical to keeping students and staff safe in schools," he wrote.