Providence City Councilors call for vaccination requirement for all school staff
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE)- Providence City Councilors are calling on state officials to set a vaccine mandate in schools.
At Thursday’s meeting, the council proposed a request to Gov. McKee and Commissioner Infante-Green to implement a statewide vaccine mandate for all school staff.
In the proposal, staff would either get vaccinated or comply with weekly testing.
“The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. It is the best way for school employees to protect themselves as well as the students they serve. With many Providence students still too young for vaccination, it is important to ensure that teachers who care for these children all day, five days a week, do not go unvaccinated and untested,” said Councilman John Goncalves.
Councilman David Salvatore represents Ward 14. He was one of the council-members who co-sponsored the resolution.
“The bottom line is we have to ensure families in Providence and I think throughout Rhode Island that their children are going to be safe at all times in a setting where they spend most of their day,” Councilman Salvatore said. “If folks are hesitant for whatever reason, we are providing them with the opportunity to demonstrate that they are being tested and making sure they are healthy and safe.”
A statewide vaccine mandate has been set for schools in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Delaware.
Dr. Liz Goldberg is an emergency physician and member of the Providence School Board. She believes Rhode Island should be next.
“I’m a practicing emergency physician, but I’m also a parent of three kids that are not yet eligible for vaccination. Having seen several patients in the hospital that are critically ill, I really think it’s important that we take steps to make our schools as safe as possible,” Dr. Goldberg said. “I appreciate my kids teachers, they’re the most important folks in our schools to keep learning going. I think we need to work with all of our school partners to make sure we have a safe school environment.”
“The School Board is working directly with the Superintendent and senior leadership at PPSD to support the District’s ongoing vaccination efforts. Increasing vaccination uptake is an important way to improve safety in our schools and we look forward to working collaboratively with our school partners to enhance uptake,” added Kinzel Thomas, President of the Providence School Board.