Mandate Teacher Vaccinations in Virginia

Louise Lucas, Chair, Senate Education and Health Committee photo credit: Virginian-Pilot

by James C. Sherlock

I wrote this morning about Virginia SENATE BILL NO. 1303 (Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute) Local school divisions; availability of virtual and in-person learning to all students.

The lengthy Democratic substitute to a one-sentence Republican bill was written over the weekend to provide political cover to the Democrats. Unfortunately, it did much more than that, all of it bad.

One provision states:

“Prior to the start of the 2021–2022 school year, all teachers and school staff shall be offered access to receive an approved COVID-19 vaccination through their relevant local health district.”

“Offered access.” I was asked by a reader whether I would recommend mandating teacher vaccinations.

My answer is yes.

Yes. I recommend mandating that teachers get vaccinated as a condition of employment. What is the countervailing argument?

Virginia and every other state in the union mandates child polio vaccination for attendance at either child care or elementary schools.

There is no difference between mandating polio vaccines for school kids and mandating teacher and staff COVID vaccinations. None.

If the elected officials in Richmond are not willing mandate teacher and school staff vaccinations, then all the statements they are making about wanting safe reopening of schools and doing all of this “for the children” is hogwash.

All of it.