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Many Iowa educators received communications this week providing them with an update regarding the COVID vaccine mandate and how it affects them.

The communication noted vaccination is required of all employees, including new employees, “as soon as practicable.”

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It provides exceptions for individuals for whom a vaccine is medically contraindicated, or for whom a medical necessity requires a delay or who are legally entitled to a reasonable accommodation for a disability or sincerely held religious reason.

“If you have not received the COVID-19 vaccine yet, Waukee Community School District, in accordance with these OSHA regulations, will provide up to four hours of paid time at the employee’s regular rate of pay for the employee to receive each primary vaccination dose,” said the communication sent to Waukee staff. “Also, employees are eligible to use paid sick leave to recover from any side effects of vaccination.”

The email states employees may choose to be fully vaccinated, or provide proof of regular testing for COVID along with wearing a face covering.

Regular testing means an employee who reports at least once every seven days to work must be tested once every seven days and provide documentation of the results. Face coverings must be worn indoors and when occupying a vehicle with another person. Employers are NOT required to pay for ANY costs associated with testing or face coverings.

“Rather, under the ETS, an employer can require its employees to pay for their own regular testing,” the message states.

In addition, the email states employers must determine the vaccination status of each employee AND require each vaccinated employee to provide “acceptable proof of vaccination status.”

In the instance of Waukee, the email said the district “must comply with the regulations.”

The Iowa Standard has also been told Ankeny and Des Moines Public Schools sent notifications last week as well — except Des Moines was given until Jan. 31 to comply.

In the email to Waukee staff, employees have until Feb. 9, 2022 to provide proof of vaccination. It also states the date for employees who are unvaccinated to begin weekly testing and masking is undetermined, but at the latest will begin Feb. 9, 2022.

Waverly-Shell Rock also sent out a similar email to staff.

Author: Jacob Hall

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