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CCSD Moves Toward Mandating Vaccines For Teachers And Staff

John Locher/Associated Press

Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara early this year discusses a return to classroom learning amid the pandemic. The school board this week advanced a proposal for mandatory vaccinations of district employees.

After a marathon meeting that included hours of impassioned public comment, the Clark County school board early Thursday approved mandating COVID-19 vaccines for district employees.

The 5-1 vote, with Trustee Danielle Ford voting no, directs Clark County School District Superintendent Jesus Jara to develop and enact the policy in consultation with the unions that represent district workers.

"To me, to our children, when I speak to them and I hear them, and they say do whatever it takes as superintendent to keep us in school, and I think this is one of the mitigation efforts that we are bringing forward," Jara said at the meeting.

The head of the Clark County Education Association said the union is “not going to get in the way” of any vaccine mandates, but wants to know the details.

“If a mandate is adopted, we want to make sure that one is implemented effectively,” said John Vellardita, groups executive director, Clark County Education Association.

Vellardita told State of Nevada that “we've just seen one too many failures of implementation,” including at past mass COVID-19 testing events.

“When that got rolled out that was a mess,” he said. “We had back to back days where we had hundreds of staff waiting in 105-degree weather to get a COVID test”

Hundreds of people packed the Clark County Government Center for the trustee meeting, which included lengthy public comment, mostly against the mandate or skeptical of the vaccine.

“We can't agree on what's good, what's right, what's true anymore,” lamented a vaccine-supporting caller on State of Nevada.

A UNLV public health expert said that attitude is at the root of today’s pandemic-related debates.

“The comment about people believe in the vaccine or don't believe in the vaccine, to me is the problem,” said Assistant Professor Brian Laubus, an epidemiologist at the School of Public Health. “It's not whether you believe something or not, it's whether the evidence actually shows it.”

John Vellardita, executive director, Clark County Education Association; Brian Labus, epidemiologist, UNLV School of Public Health

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Kristen Kidman is the senior producer at KNPR’s State of Nevada and is proud to be from Las Vegas.