Mississippi school district adopts plan to require vaccination of employees; includes monetary incentives for shots

Published 8:49 am Friday, September 3, 2021

At least one Mississippi school district is proceeding with plans to require all school district employees be vaccinated and will provide monetary incentives for those who are hesitant to get the shot.

The Natchez Adams School District Board of Trustees unanimously adopted a plan to require the vaccination of school district employees, which includes incentives for employees to be vaccinated. The plan requires unvaccinated employees to undergo twice a week COVID-19 testing.

No other school districts in Mississippi have been known to adopt such a program for COVID-19 vaccination.

The adoption of such a plan follows school board member Phillip West’s recent push for the board to mandate that all school district employees be vaccinated.

According to the document which the board adopted in their Aug. 25 meeting, employees who wish to receive the incentive must have completed their vaccination process by Nov. 1.

Those who do so will be provided an extra day of personal leave and ½ day off from work to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, the document states that “NASD will form an alliance with Jefferson Comprehensive Health Center to provide a monetary incentive for employees to be vaccinated.”

Those who refuse to be vaccinated for medical or religious reasons must ask for an exemption from the districts human resources office and have a physician or religious advisor verify their reason for not being vaccinated.

Unvaccinated employees will also be required to be tested twice weekly through the district’s testing program or a program of their choice. The district’s testing program is grant funded, so the tests are free to employees and students whose parents give permission for them to be tested, NASD Public Communications Director Tony Fields said.

“As of now, at least 60 percent of our employees are already vaccinated,” he said.

The goal of the program is to achieve a “100 percent vaccination rate among all district employees,” the document states.