Metro Atlanta school district 1st in Georgia to mandate vaccines for employees

DECATUR, Ga. — Teachers and staff in a local school district are now required to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The City Schools of Decatur’s mandate officially went into effect on Tuesday night during the board’s monthly meeting. It is the first district in Georgia to adopt a vaccine mandate.

Teachers and staff have until the end of October to get vaccinated or provide an exemption. With the exemption, employees must be tested each day before work. It cannot be an at-home test.

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The vaccine mandate was originally discussed during an August board session. Board member Jana Davis said that it was an easy decision if safety is the No. 1 concern.

“I support teacher vaccinations. I just think it’s the safest thing. We’ve been saying we’re going to do everything we can to keep students in the building and vaccinations are our best defense,” Davis said.

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Superintendent Dr. Maggie Fehrman says the board is still considering a similar vaccine mandate for students who are eligible.

“It’s a personal choice. Although it’s a pandemic and it’s affecting multiple people. You have a right to choose,” said resident Yolanda McGhee.

While the district’s superintendent did not need board approval for employees mandate, Dr. Maggie Fehrman would need the board’s approval for the student mandate.

The FDA granted the Pfizer vaccine full approval for people 16 and older. It is still under emergency use authorization for teens 12-15.

“I think it’s an individual choice if you’re choosing to work with someone else’s children, then you should maybe be vaccinated because you don’t know who they’re going home to, grandma, their great granddad or whomever or just another family member with underlying health issues,” said McGhee.

Officials for Pfizer say they expect to turn over vaccine study results for children ages 5 to 11 by the end of September, which could see emergency use authorization for most kids by Halloween.

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