Employees with the Wake County school system soon will need to be fully vaccinated or consent to weekly COVID tests to comply with new federal regulations.
Of the more than 18,000 school district employees, a majority already have received the vaccine.
The new federal requirement from the Biden Administration calls for employers with at least 100 employees to get their workers fully vaccinated or give them weekly COVID tests.
On Tuesday, the Wake County school system shared a survey of district employees that shows close to 90% say they have received the COVID vaccine or plan to do so.
Here’s a closer look at what Wake’s 18,195 employees reported in an online survey about their vaccine status:
▪ Fully vaccinated: 85.9% (15,639)
▪ Partially vaccinated: 1.5% (271)
▪ Have plans to get vaccinated: 1.4% (260)
▪ No plans to get vaccinated: 2.6% (472)
▪ Not yet responded: 6.7% (1,311)
Wake school leaders are wrestling with whether to require employees to be vaccinated. Some districts, such as Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Orange County and Durham Public Schools, plan to make the COVID shot a condition of staying employed.
Wake school employees will be required to get the vaccine if they work for Head Start, a federally funded program to help low-income children ages 3 to 5. The anticipated deadline for those employees to get vaccinated is January.
Wake has been slow to start a COVID testing problem, citing the logistical difficulties of testing so many employees and 160,000 students. On Tuesday, the school board directed staff to get a voluntary testing program going now.
School board chairman Keith Sutton said voluntary COVID testing will help in three areas: minimize COVID contact and spread, minimize quarantines and protect those who are unvaccinated.