Dear SAISD Staff:
Our district has led the way with our response to COVID-19. Since day one, our focus has been the health and safety of our staff, our students, and our broader community of our families and neighbors. We have confronted the pandemic as a united front, following safety protocols to include masking, as well as providing regular COVID-19 testing and access to the COVID-19 vaccines. I couldn’t be more proud of you for the strength and perseverance you have shown during this unprecedented time.
Although our district’s positivity rate is low, we are seeing our local community’s positivity rate surge to more than 20% as new and more contagious variants of the COVID-19 virus circulate. We need to rise to the occasion again as leaders. The COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective in mitigating the effects of the virus, and we are hearing that the FDA will grant full approval – not just an emergency approval – of the available COVID-19 vaccines in the next few weeks. We understand some of you may have been hesitant and were waiting for this final step from the FDA, and I hope this brings you reassurance.
We strongly believe that the best path forward as a school district is to require all staff to become vaccinated against COVID-19. And the timing is now. This is a profound moment where we can choose to lead by example.
I want to thank the vast majority of you, about 90%, who already are vaccinated. For those of you who are not yet vaccinated against COVID-19, you must be fully vaccinated by Friday, Oct. 15. Please note that it takes five weeks after the administration of the first dose to be considered fully vaccinated.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has confirmed that employers can make vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory for employees, with some restrictions. If you believe you qualify for an exemption, such as having a qualifying disability that puts you at risk of side effects when receiving vaccinations or having religious objections to vaccines, more information will be forthcoming from Human Resources on how to provide documentation for allowable exemptions. Please be watching for this communication.
We will continue to host vaccination clinics through local health providers at campus, district and other sites, and we keep you informed of these opportunities. You also will have the opportunity to provide proof of your COVID-19 vaccination to comply with the mandate.
Thank you for your leadership in helping us ensure the safety of all those we hold dear.