Montgomery Co. schools back down from employee vaccine mandate

It’s no longer get vaccinated or get fired if you’re a Montgomery County Public Schools employee — at least not yet.

The county confirms it is now offering those who admit they haven’t been vaccinated, or who won’t say one way or the other, the alternative of once-a-week testing in order “to meet operational demands.”

In a statement, the school system cites changing conditions surrounding the pandemic, including increased vaccination numbers for adults and approval of the vaccine for children as young as five.

News of the policy change was first reported by Bethesda Beat, which quoted a school system spokesman as saying the county couldn’t afford to fire the more than 1,000 employees facing termination for either not reporting their vaccination status or who admitted they weren’t vaccinated.

But according to the school system’s statement, the county still reserves the right to terminate employees in the future for failing to get vaccinated.

In addition, employees still working in defiance of the mandate will be given a letter of reprimand and will be docked a day’s pay this Wednesday — which is now a day off for students and staff.

As of Friday evening, the county said 570 MCPS employees would not attest one way or the other what their vaccination status is. Another 600 employees had said they were not vaccinated.

That’s just under 5% of the school system’s entire work force.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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