OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -- The Shawnee Mission School District will not move forward with any plans to require staff vaccinations, the superintendent and board members said at this week's regular School Board meeting.
Board members spent about 20 minutes discussing the topic, weighing the pros and cons of such a move. The school district looked at both Kansas City Public Schools and St. Louis School District as guides on what requiring vaccinations could look like. At KCPS, staff are required to get vaccinated, but there is an opt out with weekly testing. St. Louis School District has a full staff requirement, with only legitimate medical exemptions allowed.
Supt. Michelle Hubbard and board members said the decision comes down to financial cost and the possible loss of staff who might sooner quit before agreeing to get vaccinated.
"We're still going to have some certified staff that aren't happy with this requirement, but I have huge fears in regard to our classified staff," the superintendent said. "We're already 250 employees short in the classified area. And I personally am very fearful that it would be very difficult for us."
Hubbard and board members also acknowledged that such a requirement may not be necessary to keep students and staff healthy anyway. Associate Supt. of Human Resources Michael Schumacher noted that Shawnee Mission already has 81 percent of its employees vaccinated.
Still, he noted that the breakdown of vaccinated classified and contracted staff does lag below that number:
- Paras - 55 percent vaccinated
- Food service workers - 72 percent
- Custodians - 58 percent
- Operations and maintenance - 52 percent
- Substitute teachers - 25 percent
- DS Bus Line employees - 12 percent
Schumacher said the district has not seen a recent uptick in costs associated with COVID that might necessitate a vaccine requirement from a financial perspective.
A vaccine requirement, meanwhile, would inevitably incur costs for the district beyond just the anticipated loss of staff, Hubbard said. Those would include substantial administrative oversight and logistics.