CSD Superintendent: 92% of employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19Dr. Maggie Fehrman. Photo by Dean Hesse
Decatur, GA — During the Decatur School Board meeting on Dec. 14, City Schools of Decatur Superintendent Maggie Fehrman announced that 92% of CSD employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“I think that’s a tremendous accomplishment for our school system to make sure that we continue to provide a safe environment for our students and our staff,” Fehrman said.
She implemented a COVID-19 vaccine mandate in September, and the deadline was Oct. 31. The district created a process for employees to fill out forms and submit their vaccination information.
The district also provided a process for accommodations requests to be exempt from the vaccine requirement for disability and religious reasons, according to a memo Fehrman wrote for the Aug. 24 School Board work session.
“Federal Equal Employment Opportunity laws do not prevent an employer from requiring all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19, so long as employers comply with the reasonable accommodation provisions of the ADA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other EEO considerations,” the memo states.
For staff members who are granted an exemption and don’t have to get a COVID-19 vaccine, they will be required to take a rapid COVID-19 test daily. Tests will be offered in the school buildings, Fehrman said at the Sept. 14 School Board meeting.
Staff members could also get tested at a pharmacy or healthcare facility. The district will not accept home COVID tests.
“If a staff member does get through the exemption process and has to take the test, and they decide to take the rapid COVID test daily at one of our facilities, we will have a cost associated with that,” Fehrman previously said.
In October, the district implemented optional weekly COVID-19 testing at the schools, but after running into issues with the lab processing company, CSD suspended the weekly testing program. Currently, the school system is providing optional daily testing. Rapid antigen and PCR tests are available.
Testing is available for students and staff Monday through Friday from 6:30-8:30 a.m. in the boardroom atrium at the Wilson Center.
“We will review the possibility of expanding testing options at a later date. Based on current levels of community transmission, members of the Expert Advisory team support the continued pause of weekly testing,” Fehrman wrote in her weekly newsletter on Dec. 10.
During the School Board meeting, Fehrman additionally shared that the parent and expert COVID advisory teams have met in the last couple of weeks to share their input regarding the district’s COVID mitigation strategies.
“What we will be working on next with these two teams is developing some criteria to guide decisions going forward on mitigation, such as testing options, test to stay,” Fehrman said. “If we start looking at peeling back mitigation layers, what the data might say to lead us down that conversation as we look at the spread of COVID in our community.”
In the newsletter, she said the advisory teams support a conservative approach to peeling back mitigation layers.