LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Local unions that work with the Clark County School District are reacting to the school board’s decision to allow Superintendent Dr. Jesus Jara to create a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all employees.
The CCSD Board of Trustees voted 5-1 early Thursday morning to pass a resolution allowing Jara and his staff to negotiate the terms of the mandate and to set timelines and potential penalties or incentives for employees to provide proof of vaccination.
The four unions within the school district said they are waiting to see a proposal. They expect to have meetings with the district and their members to discuss the logistics of a mandate. Union leaders say they do not want to lose any employees over the new rules.
Leaders of the Clark County Education Association and the Clark County Association of School Administrators and Professional-Technical Employees agree safety is their top priority. However, both are concerned about how the district will handle discipline for those who cannot or will not get vaccinated.
Jeff Horn with CCASAPE said there needs to be due process, which they hope to negotiate. Horn said he would not support termination for the unvaccinated.
“It’s a personal decision. We understand that and realize that,” said Horn. “The district is struggling with staffing now so anything to cause an exodus of staff would be a crisis situation for the district. I know they don’t want to go that direction.”
Part of the bargaining between the district and unions will focus on creative solutions.
CCEA president Marie Neisess said one possible solution would be for unvaccinated educators to do distance education instead of being with students in a physical classroom.
Both leaders said they don’t want the mandate rollout rushed. Neisess said the district’s plans for getting students back to class have been a disaster already.
“At the core we’re talking about educators possibly losing their careers and quitting their jobs,” said Neisess. “So we want to make sure everything is covered and everything is done in a manner that it isn’t like the rollout of the reopening of schools this school year.”
Neisess said she has heard from concerned employees since the school board passed the resolution.
“We’re telling everyone to just hang tight,” said Neisess. “We’re advocating for both sides and we’re seeing what we can come up with after we meet with the district.”
Dr. Jara’s office declined a request for an interview Thursday, referring 8NewsNow to his remarks from the school board meeting.