A quarter of PPS staff are still unvaccinated

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(WEEK) — Two weeks after a statewide deadline, 26 percent of all teachers and staff at Peoria Public Schools are still unvaccinated against COVID-19 despite a large push from the district.

Governor JB Pritzker’s August mandate gave teachers and school staff two options; either get vaccinated or undergo mandatory weekly testing. That deadline passed on September 19.

“It was initially announced as a vaccine mandate, but when you really got down to it, it was an either or mandate,” PPS spokesperson Thomas Bruch said.

Bruch says 1802 people, or 74 percent, of all teachers and staff at PPS are vaccinated and have uploaded proof. The other 26 percent, or 642 people, either did not get the shot or did not upload their vaccine proof. They will instead be tested weekly.

A month ago, 55 percent of District 150 staff had uploaded proof of vaccination. Since then, that number has risen by nearly 20 percent, as around 400 additional people uploaded their documentation.

Bruch says the mid-September deadline, not the mandate itself, was the primary factor pushing up the percentage.

“It was a little bit of both,” Bruch said. “I’d say the deadline definitely was the biggest one in just getting everyone’s documentation filed.”

Around 50 staff members did begin the vaccination process after the governor’s announcement in late August. Bruch said the district is happy to see their numbers increasing.

Countywide, the Regional Office of Education says the vast majority of staff are complying with one of the two options.

“It might look a little different in all of our communities, but they are all working very hard because we all have the same goal,” Regional Assistant Superintendent George McKenna said.

Over in McLean County, District 87 says the vaccine rate for all of its employees, teachers and staff, is 86 percent. Among teachers alone, it is above 90 percent.

“I’m pleased with the number of staff members who have chosen to be vaccinated as this helps keep our staff in school working with our students,” Superintendent Barry Reilly said in a statement.

The post A quarter of PPS staff are still unvaccinated appeared first on WEEK.

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