During the last Tuesday evening Leon County School Board meeting, on August 24, 2021, Board member Rosanne Wood proposed the adoption of incentives to encourage vaccine adoption for employees and students over 12 years-old.
Wood also discussed the possibility of a vaccine mandate for Leon County school employees.
After a lengthy discussion regarding the mask mandate for Leon County Schools, Wood, someone who is fully vaccinated and has recently contracted COVID, wanted to discuss vaccines.
“I know that masks are not the end all, be all. You can wear a mask and still get COVID. You can get a vaccine and still get COVID,” Wood said. She continued, stating that vaccines minimize the symptoms and most likely a vaccinated individual will not end up in the hospital.
Wood cited Florida State University and FAMU who are offering monetary incentives and Broward County, who is offering their employees a $250 gift card for getting the vaccine.
“I haven’t gotten the feeling that this Board is yet ready to mandate our employees, as the county has done. Although they are starting to do it around the country to try to increase the number of people who are vaccinated,” Wood said. Instead, she recommended a monetary incentive for the teachers and employees.
States and cities are beginning to mandate the COVID-19 vaccination for employees. On August 18, 2021, Washington’s governor, Jay Inslee, set a mandate for all public-school employees K-12 to have the vaccine or a qualifying exemption by October 18, 2021. If an employee does not have the vaccine or an exemption they will be dismissed from employment. Similar orders are popping up all over the nation, for instance in Connecticut, California, and New Your City.
Another Board member, DeeDee Rasmussen, added to the discussion, stating that many parents feel anxious about the mask order because mandates are a slippery slope, today a mask mandate, tomorrow a vaccine mandate. She asserted that the Board needs to be careful.
The conversation between Wood and the rest of the Board ended with Superintendent Rocky Hanna calculating a rough estimate, that an incentive for LCS employees could cost, roughly $731,000. He requested additional time to crunch the numbers and will present their findings to the Board at a later date.