Madison teachers union pushes for vaccine mandate

Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 8:20 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The Madison teachers’ union board of directors issued a full-throated endorsement Monday morning of the proposal that the city’s school district approve a vaccine mandate for teachers and staff for the school year starting later this week.

“MTI members overwhelmingly agree that MMSD staff should share proof of their COVID-19 vaccination to the employer, or be subject to weekly testing,” the Madison Teachers, Inc., board wrote in Monday’s statement. “Our Union supports maintaining the highest level of public safety for all MMSD students and staff.”

The statement comes just hours before the Madison Metropolitan School District Board is expected to take up the debate during a Monday meeting. Last week, Superintendent Carlton Jenkins confirmed administrators would recommend the board consider the motion and expressed his own support for such a mandate.

On Friday, the Madison Teachers, Inc., President Michael Jones told NBC15 News that 85 percent of the union’s members backed the proposal, based on an earlier survey. He went on to add that another 10 percent indicated they wanted more information on the topic and Jones added he was confident they would end up also in the pro-requirement camp.

Less than two weeks ago, a district spokesperson said neither vaccinations nor regular COVID-19 testing would be required among staff.

That idea was thrown into flux earlier this week when reports emerged that the school board would, in fact, take up the debate during its August 30 meeting. Board member Nikki Vander Meulen told NBC15 News that the rise in COVID-19 cases and the Delta variant helped fuel talks of changing course.

Any decision by the board now would come just days ahead of the first day of classes.

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