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Vaccine Watch: Medford School District says more than 97% of staff are in compliance with vaccine mandate

Oregon's vaccination deadline for educators and healthcare workers has arrived, and Medford School District officials say that they are in good shape.

Posted: Oct 18, 2021 10:52 AM
Updated: Oct 19, 2021 9:30 AM

MEDFORD, Ore. — Oregon's vaccination deadline for educators and healthcare workers has arrived, and Medford School District officials say that they are in good shape.

According to the District, more than 97% of staff are in compliance — either by being fully vaccinated or by submitting a valid exception.

"The vast majority of our staff have taken this very serious — they're here today to work with kids," said MSD assistant superintendent Brad Earl.

The Medford School District has more than 1,500 employees. Earl said that as of Monday, 80% are considered fully vaccinated. Another 17% or so either received a valid medical or religious exception, or they were office workers who qualified for another kind of exception under state rules.

At present, Earl said that a total of 40 people are not in compliance. About a quarter of those are coaches not directly employed by the District — at least some of whom are not coaching this current season — who did not understand that they would be covered by the requirement, according to the assistant superintendent. Most of the remainder are classified employees. 

There are four teachers in total who have not either turned in proof of vaccination or a valid exception. Earl said that in all of these hold-out cases, the District is working with people on an individual basis toward a resolution.

Earl said that one First Student bus driver and four District employees have directly indicated that they don't intend to comply.

In all cases, Earl said that the District is not leading with immediate termination of employment. Depending on the staff member's individual situation, they'll either be placed on paid or unpaid leave for the time being.

"We would love to reach a point where we agree to some standard that they can live with and they stay at the Medford School District, but that's a pretty small group, so we're very pleased about where we're at," Earl said.

Earl said that that even if some of these staff do end up parting ways with the District, the impact does not compare to the disruption caused by having to quarantine students and teachers when positive COVID-19 cases pop up.

"We were cautiously optimistic because statistically we had more people who were vaccinated, or we had worked through some sort of an exception with, prior to this mandate," Earl said. "If you compare it to community-wide levels, we were outpacing the community.

"So we felt cautiously optimistic that our team was going to get on board with this, knowing that we put kids at the center of our decisions, and that it's inconvenient right now, but it's a heck of a lot better than not having in-person school. So we are pleased — a little sigh of relief that everyone's here and working with kids."

By and large, impacts have similarly light in other southern Oregon school districts. Grants Pass School District said that 14 of its 800 employees have either resigned or been placed on unpaid leave. Central Point School District said 15 out of 600 employees resigned or went on unpaid leave.

Klamath Falls City Schools was the first local district to tell NewsWatch 12 that it had either terminated the employment of several staff members or had them resign.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 392197

Reported Deaths: 5186
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah60432839
Washington42082398
Marion39986507
Clackamas32861382
Lane30179358
Jackson24956361
Deschutes23639185
Umatilla15135182
Linn14704179
Douglas13438292
Josephine10201246
Yamhill9787143
Klamath9072147
Polk8248102
Benton611138
Malheur592790
Coos5693107
Columbia433356
Jefferson420866
Lincoln363852
Union339255
Crook336356
Wasco317046
Clatsop262735
Baker220833
Tillamook217045
Hood River214537
Morrow197825
Curry192439
Harney119933
Grant108515
Lake105616
Wallowa76013
Sherman1913
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1141
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5087907

Reported Deaths: 74561
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles152858627184
San Diego4074794340
Riverside3880835358
San Bernardino3748555967
Orange3346265736
Sacramento1684922447
Kern1578751804
Fresno1568972259
Santa Clara1522681929
Alameda1252361507
San Joaquin1076041834
Ventura1040841191
Contra Costa1038691046
Stanislaus915481417
Tulare861371099
San Francisco56931672
San Mateo56354629
Monterey52521626
Solano47693358
Santa Barbara47345553
Merced45086668
Sonoma43207412
Placer42204470
Imperial38516773
Kings35221362
San Luis Obispo31511360
Madera26233311
Shasta26113458
Butte25476318
Santa Cruz22268224
Yolo21590260
Marin18495249
El Dorado18325166
Sutter14577186
Napa13424105
Yuba1076389
Tehama10282130
Humboldt10183119
Nevada10029105
Mendocino857799
Lassen797656
San Benito782979
Tuolumne774691
Lake7046110
Amador578366
Siskiyou475855
Glenn457436
Calaveras442288
Del Norte376942
Colusa325921
Inyo256746
Plumas19397
Mono18924
Mariposa160718
Trinity99817
Modoc7725
Sierra2180
Alpine1080
Unassigned810
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