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.
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%.”
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.”