KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- President Biden’s sweeping vaccination mandate will not apply to schools.
Missouri’s Department of Education clarified the matter in a statement to KCTV5:
“Mandatory vaccinations for teachers and school personnel is a matter determined at the local level by policy voted on by local boards of education. From the information and interpretation DESE officials have seen, at this time we do not believe mandates announced last week by President Biden apply to Missouri school districts.”
Schools receive federal funds and certainly have hundreds, if not thousands, of employees. But, schools are not considered a business. Teachers and staff are public employees; they are not federal employees. So, the federal mandate does not apply.
It’s something teachers, administrators, and unions quickly understood but perhaps not parents.
“I don't think that there is anyone in the state that has accurate numbers for how many teachers have been vaccinated,” explained Todd Fuller with the Missouri State Teacher Association.
Fuller says the nationwide estimate is 90% of all teachers have been vaccinated but adds there hasn’t been specific polling or research in Missouri.
Missouri data reveals 63.9% of all Missouri adults have had at least one shot.
Any decisions regarding vaccine mandates will likely be made at the local level much like mask mandates.
There are more than 70,000 teachers across Missouri.
KCTV5 reached out to Kansas for clarification on its interpretation of the mandate. Here is the statement sent in response: “We are in the process of reviewing the mandate, so we have no current position.”
Additionally, we reached out to Chris Hernandez with the City Communications Office for KCMO regarding the president's announcement on vaccine mandates. He said:
"We are waiting further guidance from the federal government on vaccination requirements. Our goal is to ensure we are fully compliant. Fortunately more than 66% of our employees are already vaccinated. That’s well above the state average. Also, we have been holding vaccination clinics at various work sites and city facilities to make it easier for employees to get vaccinated."