SLPS employee was let go ahead of Friday’s district-wide vaccination deadline

Missouri

ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Public Schools vaccine mandate deadline is looming. The district’s mandate, approved in August, requires all employees to be fully vaccinated by Friday.

In August, the St. Louis Public School District Board of Education unanimously approved a vaccine mandate for every district employee.

“If you do not have proof of full vaccination by Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, you will be placed on unpaid leave and/or subject to discipline, up to and including termination,” according to the district.

SLPS Board of Education held a meeting Tuesday night. Superintendent Kelvin Adams did not speak on the vaccine mandate.

At the meeting, several people spoke during public comment, and those who spoke during public comment about the vaccine mandate were against it.

Meanwhile, the teacher’s union has said it fully supports the vaccine mandate. One person present at the meeting said she was let go from the district on Monday after five years.

“I was called in on Monday for a meeting. They explained to me because I had not had a religious exemption form that was approved, and that I had not taken the COVID shot, by this time to have immunity by Friday, I was released,” Ashley Moore, a now-former SLPS employee said.

Moore said she has received religious exemptions for vaccines while receiving her undergraduate, master’s, and doctorate degree because her religion is against them and has never been denied, until now.

“I just feel like my employer is over-reaching or overstepping. I don’t want to put the health of my baby at risk,” Moore said, who is eight months pregnant with her first child.

“Unfortunately, going on FMLA or getting short-term disability like I was planning is not the case at this point, but I’m going to stay strong. I’m going to look for jobs elsewhere.”

When the initial announcement was made in August, the district said, “Approximately 86 percent of the 2,600 (of approximately 3,600 employees) respondents to our recent survey indicate they have been vaccinated. However, percentages of vaccinated people vary across the District and from school to school. Some schools have as high as 90% staff vaccination, while other schools have as low as 50%.”

A district spokesperson said the superintendent was not available for an interview Tuesday and also said the district did not have any latest data on how many employees were vaccinated against COVID-19.

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