DC region parents question why teachers are not being required to vaccinate or regularly tested

With rising concerns surrounding the delta variant and as many kids begin going back to school, should schools in the DMV require their teachers to either be vaccinated or regularly tested?

It’s a question that many concerned parents in Montgomery County are asking district leaders.

Last week, Montgomery County passed a measure that would require all county employees to either get vaccinated or be tested for Covid-19, regularly.

READ MORE: Montgomery County restoring indoor mask order

Some parents and teachers told FOX 5’s Ayesha Khan Monday, that with schools reopening in just two weeks, they are wondering, why there hasn’t been any such direction from the county’s teacher’s union, the school board or even MCPS for when it comes to making some decisions on teachers being required to either get vaccinated or regularly tested.

"I just think there should be some consistency across the county, because if you you think about county employees and who the most important ones are to vaccinate, I wouldn’t think it would be someone mowing the lawn out at the park," said Graham Dersley, a parent of two students within MCPS.

READ MORE: Maryland mandating vaccinations for state employees ‘in congregate settings’

"It should be people working with seniors older people and the youngest people who can’t have the vaccine yet."

Khan took these concerns to the Montgomery County Education Association after pointing to a recent statement made by Randi Weingarten, the head of the American Federation of Teachers, who said that she now supports vaccination mandates for teachers before they return to classrooms this fall, to protect younger students.

In a written statement by MCEA President Jennifer Martin Khan was told:

"MCEA is committed to ensuring the health and safety of our members and the students we serve. We look forward to working with MCPS to agree on protocols that will allow students to learn and educators to teach safely in person."

"We teachers would like to be able to teach everybody’s kids, we would like to be safe and we don’t want kids getting sick," said Deb Stahl an MCPS teacher.

MCPS spokesperson Gboyinde Onijala also sent a written statement saying that:

"We are reviewing what the county has proposed at this time and are having discussions about potential next steps for the school system. We certainly understand the concerns in the community and are committed to having systems in place to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff."

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"A lot of the experienced teachers are also some of the older teachers and we all want to improve our odds of staying in the classroom," said Stahl.

"I want to be in the classroom with my students. I don’t want to do another year of remote if I can help it."

In a statement from Mary C. Anderson with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, Khan was told:

"Dr. Gayles and Dr. Stoddard have served as advisors to MCPS but it is the Board of Education who would vote/implement anything having to do with required vaccination mandates, just as they have done with mask mandates."

Khan reached out to all eight members of the school board on Monday but did not receive back a response in the matter.

Khan also checked with some other school districts and contacted Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince George’s County Public Schools.

Fairfax County Federation of Teachers President Tina Williams told Khan that the federation is, "currently reviewing member input regarding this and will be sharing our recommendations with FCPS leadership very soon."

Spokesperson Kathleen Miller with Fairfax County Public Schools said in a written statement:

"We are not mandating vaccinations for staff at this time. However we are supporting vaccination clinics at our schools and will be hosting up to 40 such clinics in school buildings when we start back."