The Chicago Board of Education has approved a new measure allowing Chicago Public Schools to track which teachers and employees have gotten a COVID-19 vaccine. Down the line, it would allow the district to require vaccinations.
The board unanimously approved a revised policy which would require CPS employees to disclose their vaccination status to the district. It also gives CPS the ability to require employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment, though the district has said it does not intend to do so at this time.
“It is important for us to be able to track who has received the vaccine for a variety of reasons,” CPS CEO Janice Jackson said Wednesday during the board’s monthly meeting. “And then we will make public any changes where we would require individuals to have a vaccine.”
The new policy states CPS “may require as a condition of hire or continued employment that new hires and/or employees obtain a COVID-19 immunization that has been approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.”
Jackson noted that with limited vaccine availability, the school district couldn’t make vaccination a requirement for employment right now, “even if we thought that was a good idea.”
As part of the policy change, employees who are “unable or unwilling” to get a COVID-19 vaccine due to medical reasons or their religious beliefs will be able to request “reasonable accommodations” from the district.
CPS is in the process of phasing educators and students back in to in-person learning following an agreement reached last month with the Chicago Teachers Union to safely reopen schools.
The city’s COVID-19 positivity rate as of Wednesday is 3.1%, according to data from the Chicago Department of Public Health. That’s the lowest point it has been since March 2020.