BEACHWOOD, Ohio (WJW) – A Northeast Ohio school board approved a proposal that would require all employees and even some students to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
If they choose not to become vaccinated, they can opt to take a weekly test for the coronavirus.
The five-member Beachwood City School board voted unanimously Monday night to approve a plan they call “Vax or Test.”
It will require all union and non-union employees, including teachers, to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or get a weekly test to prove they are negative for the disease.
The requirement also applies to student 16 years and older who participate in extracurricular activities.
“This measure will help enhance the safety of our schools and that it will also help keep our students as well as our staff in school with many fewer interruptions, with more continuity than in the past,” said superintendent Dr. Robert Hardis.
Less than a handful of Beachwood residents spoke up before the board voted. At least two of them were strongly against the proposal.
“We know the mortality of elderly is extremely high. What’s the mortality of teenagers? It’s extremely low. What is the point of mandating kids to get vaccinated and then the possibility of side effects down the road?” said one resident during the public comment portion of the meeting.
“There’s no basis for discriminating between the two groups, unless it really is a soft form of coercion, which is what a lot of people are thinking this is a soft form of coercion because there’s really no scientific basis,” said another Beachwood resident.
If a student or staff member chooses not to get vaccinated for COVID-19, the weekly test would be provided free of charge.
Anyone who is already vaccinated can submit their medical card to human resources.
The superintendent says everyone’s vaccination status would be kept private like all medical records.
“We don’t want to step into our staff members and our students’ medical issues. That is why the testing option remains… Vaccinate or test,” said Dr. Hardis.
Originally, everyone had to have their first dose by this coming Friday, but the vote happened a week later than expected.
It only applies to students 16 and over in extracurricular activities because Pfizer’s vaccine is the only one so far approved for teenagers in that age group.