Following FDA approval, Texas school districts will soon be able to impose vaccine warrants for employees

AUSTIN (KXAN) – With the FDA-approved Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, some school districts are duplicating plans to require vaccines from employees.

San Antonio ISD reaffirmed that all teachers and staff must be vaccinated before October 15th.

“Vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective with few or no serious side effects,” SAISD Superintendent Pedro Martinez wrote to employees. “This is a profound moment in which we can choose to set an example. By getting the vaccine as soon as possible, you can protect yourself as much as possible from serious illness and help protect our community during this serious threat to public health. ”

Some educators would like this same example to be taken to schools in central Texas. Karen Blais, a former dyslexic therapist in the Austin Independent School District, decided to step down in the summer of 2020 due to the continuing threat of coronavirus. He said he needed to protect his children from possible exposure.

“If I wanted to protect my children, I would have to protect myself too,” Blais said. “When it comes to teachers, they are the front line with our children. They are in the face of our children on a daily basis and it is important that teachers and staff are vaccinated to be with children all the time. “

The possibility of a vaccine warrant is intriguing to Blais and he said he would even consider returning to his campus if such a measure were taken. Blais acknowledged that the district is facing a continuing shortage with more than 130 vacancies across the district. He thought the easiest way to achieve this is to get COVID to fire as part of the current state minimum vaccine requirements. Similarly, San Antonio ISD provides exemptions to those with medical or religious restrictions.

On Monday, KXAN contacted all school districts in central Texas. Among those who responded, Hays CISD and Manor ISD said they would not need vaccines. Pflugerville ISD said it was too early to say whether it would need vaccines. Although they acknowledged the question, no official response was given from Austin ISD or Round Rock ISD.

There are those who say that it is not the right of a school district to make such a demand. Lisa Pannell has worked in the AISD’s transportation department for more than a decade. Although she is partially vaccinated, she believes the shot should not be forced on anyone.

“It simply came to our notice then. And it should be everyone else’s choice if they want to do it. “Pannell said.” I’m not saying you don’t have the shot. I’m saying it should be the person’s decision whether or not to get the shot. “The school district, neither the company nor the government, you have to go ahead. It’s wrong. It’s absolutely wrong.”

Contact KXAN Education Reporter Alex Caprariello by email at alexc@kxan.com or by phone at 512-703-5365, or find him at Twitter and Facebook.