New mandate requires teachers, state employees to get vaccinated

Published on Friday, 20 August 2021 18:20
Written by Dean Wright


Gov. Ned Lamont announced Thursday that all state employees, childcare facilities workers and teachers (K-12) would be required to receive at least one dose of a covid vaccination by Sept. 27.

The mandates come part of Executive Order 13D as covid cases rise across Connecticut and the country. Those who won’t be receiving the vaccine will be tested for covid-19 on a weekly basis. Long-term care and state hospital employees will not have the option to be tested instead of vaccinating.

Efforts are being made with state employee unions to get requirements in motion efficiently.

Bristol Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Catherine Carbone said that they will continue to uphold statewide mandates, which includes this most recent one.

“The health and safety of our students, teachers and staff will always remain our top priority,” said Carbone.

Bristol Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu said that it has been made clear that vaccination is “the only thing that’s going to get us through the uptick in infection rates.”

“We have not decided to do any mandates locally and we will continue to monitor the rate and have vaccination popup clinics like we have today (in Cambridge Park) to encourage people to vaccinate. We are also starting discussions about what to do locally for boosters for people that might desire that,” said Zoppo-Sassu.

The mayor said that “to be clear” the various state boards of education are under separate mandates than those for municipalities.

“There are no mask mandates for indoors yet,” said the mayor. “All businesses are able to make their own rules. At City Hall, we are going to continue mandating that people visiting the building wear masks because we do not have the ability to verify vaccination rates and need to protect our employees.”

Plainville Superintendent of Schools Steve LePage said he was crafting a letter Friday to update parents about the new state mandates.

“In Plainville, our staff was close to 90% vaccinated before April vacation,” he said. “We held our first vaccine clinic in March after school employees were allowed to get vaccinated and we had about 410 teachers, paraprofessionals and bus drivers participate. We are now up to about 500 staff that are vaccinated.”

LePage said that there are medical and religions exceptions to the governor’s new executive order, but that these reasons have to be “verified.”

“Being vaccinated against COVID-19 is the most effective means of preventing infection and subsequent transmission,” Lamont said in a statement. “Our dedicated state employees must work together to ensure a safe work environment for one another and can do so by getting vaccinated.”

Lamont said in the statement that people who work in healthcare have a “responsibility to their patients, residents, and coworkers to get vaccinated.”

“I have also emphasized for well over a year the importance of keeping our kids in the classroom, full-time, and making sure it is as safe an environment as possible for learning for everyone in the school building,” said Lamont in a statement. “Ensuring all of our educators, including early childhood educators, and school staff are vaccinated will keep students in the classroom and keep childcare open for families. Getting vaccinated keeps yourself safe, keeps your community safe, and will help beat back the ongoing spread of this virus.”

New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart’s Office said it had no comment regarding the new mandates.

The Consolidated School District of New Britain did not return a response as of press time.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, Plainville on Friday, 20 August 2021 18:20. Updated: Friday, 20 August 2021 18:23.