Graphic by Aidan Sprouls ’23
90% of school employees in Connecticut are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Nov. 22, while Westport Public School employees have a vaccination rate of more than 95%, according to the Connecticut state government, in compliance with Governor Ned Lamont’s executive order in August requiring vaccination for pre-K-12 staff.
Those who have approved exemptions are required to get tested on a weekly basis, while Connecticut school employees who have refused to comply with the mandate have been terminated or placed on unpaid leave.
“I understand the science and research that went into creating the vaccine, testing it and distributing the vaccine,” biology and forensics teacher Heather Wirkus said. “I would much rather have the vaccine than the virus.”
As a result of the 100% vaccination rate, the Westport Public School district’s most recent COVID-19 protocol update mandated that teachers are allowed to be unmasked whilst teaching at the front of their classroom.
“I believe [the COVID protocols at Staples] have worked well considering the attendance and comparatively low rates of infections during the past year,” Principal Stafford W. Thomas Jr. said.
Part of the vaccination success can be attributed to Staples’ booster shot clinic for employees held on Nov. 1. Westport Public Schools also hosted vaccine clinics for educators earlier this year in an attempt to increase the amount of fully vaccinated employees throughout the town’s public school systems. Many teachers were pleased with how the administration handled vaccinations for its employees.
“Staples made it very easy for its teachers to get vaccinated through the school district,” History teacher Nell-Ayn Lynch said, “which shows how much they care about their staff and students.”