A mass exodus of Central Oregon teachers and school staff didn’t materialize on Monday as district officials reported nearly everyone has abided by the state’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate.
Bend-La Pine Schools said Monday evening more than 99% of staff members have complied with the mandate.
“Of the district’s 2,028 full- and part-time employees, 15 chose not to comply with the state’s regulation,” an update said.
According to the school district, 91% of staff are vaccinated, 9% submitted a religious or medical exemption and less than 1% of staff — or 15 individuals — are on unpaid leave.
Crook County School District Spokesman Jason Carr said the district won’t lose any teachers.
Redmond, Sisters and Culver school district officials say they will retain all of their staff members.
Monday was the deadline Gov. Kate Brown set for all school staff to be fully vaccinated or request an exemption – or risk losing their job.
Bend-La Pine: 15
Crook County: 6
Jefferson County: 1
The deadline also applies to many state employees and health care workers.
Redmond School District Spokeswoman Sheila Miller said all of the district’s 940 staff members are either fully vaccinated or have provided the proper paperwork for a religious or medical exemption.
Miller said at least 90% of the district’s teachers are fully vaccinated.
Carr said 70% of Crook County teachers are fully vaccinated, 20% submitted medical or religious exemptions and 5% are in the process of submitting documentation.
Six employees “are not continuing with the district,” Carr said.
Jefferson County School District officials said 77.3% of its 435 employees are fully vaccinated and 19.9% submitted exemption forms.
Spokesman Joseph Prechtl said the rest are waiting on documentation or going through the vaccination process or are on an approved leave and are not required to comply until their leave ends and they return to work.
He said the district will lose one employee.
Culver School District said, “All 116 staff members that we employ are in 100% compliance with the vaccine mandate either by vaccine, medical, or religious exemption.”
At Mt. View High School in Bend Monday morning, some students walked out in protest of the mandate and to support Mark Schulz, a teacher and freshman football coach who has been placed on unpaid administrative leave after not getting vaccinated.
Schulz, who asked us to pray with him on the phone before conducting an interview, told Central Oregon Daily News that he wasn’t anti-vaccination; he was pro-vaccine choice.
“There’s been 158 cases in the last 28 days and that’s out of 18,400 students,” he said. “Doing the math, that’s .86% of our student body…this is not a pandemic that is attacking our children.”
He said kids are not going to the hospital and kids are not dying from COVID and he believes the vaccine mandate would soon trickle down to students.
“I’m willing to give up my job to make this stand right now,” he said.
Some of the students outside Monday held signs supporting Schulz; others told Central Oregon Daily News they were just happy to not be inside in class.