39 BUSD Employees Placed on Leave After Not Being Vaccinated

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A Burbank paramedic fills a syringe with Moderna vaccine to be dispensed at a Burbank pop-up clinic held for Burbank Unified teachers and staff along with Burbank Police Department personnel in March 2021. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

98% of all Burbank Unified School District employees have been vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Tuesday, Oct. 26, following a resolution passed by the Board of Education for staff members to receive their vaccinations.

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Resolution 7 was prepared and submitted by Human Resources Executive Assistant Cindy Quitero and approved by the Board of Education at a meeting on Sept. 2. The resolution stated that “By October 22, 2021, employees will be allowed on District campuses or facilities only if they are fully vaccinated (i.e. one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine; or two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine) and have submitted documented proof of such COVID-19 vaccination status to the Human Resources Office by that date.” 

This mandate came following a request from the board on Aug. 5 that BUSD staff explore the possibility of requiring employees to be vaccinated within 60 days of Food and Drug Administration approval of COVID-19 vaccines. 

BUSD Superintendent Matt Hill says the majority of school district employees, both schoolteachers and other staff members, have been compliant in receiving their vaccine doses. Out of 1,679 total BUSD employees, 29 have not received their vaccinations, while out of 883 teachers, counselors, and speech pathologists, 10 have not received their doses.

“We’ve been tracking it pretty closely. Right now 99% of our teaching force employees have been vaccinated,” Hill said. “Overall, if you include all other employees, they [are at] 98%.”

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There are currently substitutes or new hires replacing the 39 BUSD employees who have chosen to not be vaccinated, Hill says. The employees who are on leave due to not being vaccinated, however, will be allowed to return if they become vaccinated in the future.

While vaccinations are now mandatory for all BUSD staff members, students will not be required to receive vaccinations until COVID vaccines are granted full FDA approval for their grade span, as announced by Governor Gavin Newsom on Oct. 1. The projected date for this approval is July 1, 2022. 

BUSD reopened for in-person instruction beginning on Aug. 16, 2021. In addition to this recent vaccination requirement for all employees, the school district has taken other measures to maintain safety as the pandemic continues. These include ensuring that all individuals wear masks indoors, implementing daily cleaning guidelines, and supplying classrooms with masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, and other health and safety equipment. As the school district is following the advice of health officials by enforcing the vaccination resolution, Hill says that students and staff will resultantly be in as secure a state as possible in the fight against COVID-19. 

“Overall,…this is the next step we have to do to protect our students and employees,” Hill said. “We’ve been putting in a lot of safety measures and as we’ve consulted with health officials they’re saying getting everyone vaccinated is the next thing we need to do. I do feel that this is creating a safer workplace and safer schools for kids. It has been difficult. We have amazing employees. Those employees that are not able to get vaccinated or have chosen not to get vaccinated have been great employees and that’s going to be hard to lose them. But when we look at the situation where we are with COVID, we need to take this safety measure as the next step.”

5 COMMENTS

  1. We hoped Burbank would rise above the hysteria that has gripped the world for almost two years. The lockdowns were never necessary. Masks don’t do a thing and the social distancing orders were made up out of whole cloth, not science. The vaccines are experimental and have caused thousands of deaths and adverse consequences. The smart thing for Burbank to have done would have been to take their cues from Florida, open, maskless and without vax mandate for many months and now has the lowest incidence of covid cases in the country. To fire good and needed employees for not submitting is the height of stupidity. Such idiotic moves by cities and corporations will continue to destroy our economy, eviscerate our workforce, and empty our grocery store shelves. Is there anyone left with a shred of common sense?

  2. With 98% already vaccinated why punish a tiny minority that have declined the vaccine? What is this obsession with forcing a small minority of people to get vaccinated? Let it go.

  3. BUSD is doing a disservice to our children.
    What happened to:
    “Our body Our Right”
    You would rather let good teachers go.
    What happened to BUSD’s “NO BULLYING” policy. You are hypocrites. BUSD -Mr Hill- is a Bully. Mr Hill sent his own children to a private school so they could be in person while our suffered at home on line. BUSD should be ashamed

  4. If only we had leaders like DeSantis in FL. Florida has had open schools, no mask or vax mandates since summer 2020 and the now has the lowest covid numbers in the nation. These mandates are NOT about public health. If they were, the powers that be would not be firing health workers, paramedics, firefighters, teachers, etc. Look at NY. It is a disaster, unsafe for tourists and residents. Every city that capitulates to this vax mandate nonsense is headed for disaster; economic and educational failure on a grand scale. If these cities, counties, and states cared one bit about public health, they would bring about a full stop to mask and vaccine mandates. They are destructive all around. Am so disappointed in Burbank’s leadership and school superintendent.

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