MEDFORD, Ore. -- One month ago, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced two vaccination measures to address Oregon’s hospital crisis, caused by the Delta variant surge, and to help keep Oregon students stay safe during the school year and minimize disruptions to in-person instruction.
Newswatch 12 spoke to Medford School District Superintendent, Dr. Bret Chamipon, with less than a month until the deadline, about where the district stands with its Covid vaccine progress.
"We are in the process of working through the requirement that all employees and contractors that have direct access to students get vaccinated."
Champion tells Newswatch 12, the school district's HR team has sent out the needed information on vaccines to all 15,000 employees and included time-lines to get vaccinated in order to make the October 18 cutoff. Those who don't make the deadline will be handled on a case by case basis, according to Champion.
"There is language as to how that's going to be handled on a case by case basis. When while we know that the person is going through the process. It could mean additional PPE. The same is true for those who qualify for an exception. There are two exceptions. One is for medical and one is for religious. The third is really about if you don't have any contact with kids at all."
Champion says any exception qualifying employees will default to weekly Covid testing. He says certain individuals of which testing "doesn't work for them", will also be handled individually and will work on establishing additional safeguards against Covid-19.
When Newswatch 12 asked Champion if the school board would be pushing back on mandates he said, "The school board really hasn't had any discussions about pushing back on mandates. What we've actually talked about is ensuring that we have local control when decision making is needed. We believe that there are decisions that are best made at the local level and the state has chosen to say that there's decisions they believe are best made at the state level."
Newswatch 12 will continue to follow this story as the Covid vaccination deadline approaches.