SLPS principal resigned over COVID vaccine mandate, 47 staff members on unpaid leave

Missouri

ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Public School District confirmed Wednesday 47 staff members are on unpaid administrative leave and one principal resigned over the COVID vaccine mandate at the district. 

A group is planning a rally against the vaccine mandate outside City Hall Thursday morning. On Friday, Oct. 15, a COVID vaccination mandate took effect for staff at St. Louis Public School District. At the time, the union reported that about 97 percent of union workers from AFT St. Louis Local 420.

Now, some staff members who did not get the shot are on unpaid administrative leave.
According to the district: 47 staffers are on unpaid leave, which includes:

  • 44 teachers
  • 2 custodians
  • 1 school secretary

The district also said one principal resigned over the COVID vaccine mandate. 

“They left school on the 14th, and on the 18th, they came in and teachers were gone. How do you explain this to little kids? They don’t understand. They are just looking for their teachers,” one SLPS employee said, anonymously. “It’s emotionally draining right now.”

An employee still working with the school district said she has seen the impacts from the COVID vaccine mandate and has had to take on extra duties, but asked to remain anonymous.

“A lot of added stress for those of us that are still in classrooms because we are missing so many people,” she said.

In October, the superintendent of the SLPS said the district had about 240 open positions before the mandate went into effect. Fox 2’s partners at the Post-Dispatch report SLPS is offering teachers $40/hour and up to $800/week to clean classrooms. 

“I want my coworkers back and my students want their teachers back,” the employee said.

An employee on unpaid administrative leave also spoke with Fox 2 anonymously.

“To be snatched away in the middle of the school year in October like this is devastating to them. It’s devastating to us,” she said.

She is awaiting a hearing but said she hopes the district has a change of heart and allows teachers to test instead of making the vaccine mandatory.

She said people are getting jobs in other districts since others in the area do not have the same requirement.

“Other districts are hiring us, but we don’t want to do that. We want to be in SLPS, with our students and we’ll fight for that,” she added.

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