High vaccination rates among Portland officials and educators

The deadline for many workers to get vaccinated has passed. Only a small fraction of employees chose not to be vaccinated.

PORTLAND, Oregon – Monday, October 18 marked the deadline for many workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The vast majority of employees in the city of Portland, as well as in Multnomah County, have been vaccinated. Come Tuesday, only a small fraction will be made redundant and will no longer have a job.

The number of city employees subject to the vaccination policy is 6,146, according to a spokesperson. This includes all city employees except the Portland Police Office, whose members are exempt from the warrant. 91% of the city’s employees are fully vaccinated and just over 50 employees are in the process of being vaccinated. 342 were approved for medical or religious exceptions. 91 people are leaving their posts in the city and employment status is pending for nearly 50 more.

As for the 5,600 workers in the county, only 35 people agree to a separation because of the mandate. Of these, only eight are regular full-time workers.

Immunizations are also high among educators and staff at Portland Public Schools (PPS).

“We have over 96% of our staff fully immunized, and just over 1% more – 89 people – who are partially immunized,” said Chief Human Resources Officer Sharon Reese. “Our partially vaccinated employees are eligible for a temporary medical exemption while they complete the vaccination process. I am very happy that the 89.90 partially vaccinated people continue to work instead of being put on leave.”

Reese told KGW News that around 175 employees chose not to be vaccinated and were not subject to any of the exceptions. Of those 175, she said about 80 to 90 fell into the “inactive” employee category, meaning someone on temporary assignment with the district who is not actively working at the moment. PPS will leave these employees on a non-disciplinary termination.

“We anticipate that around nine teachers will not return due to the vaccination mandate,” she said. “We have a handful, roughly the same number – eight of our Para educators who are not coming back.”

Of around 340 on-call workers, Reese said 24 will likely be made redundant due to the vaccination policy.

Several weeks ago, she said the district expected more staff to step down on the new requirement.

“In the last 60 days since the announcement of the immunization warrants, we have had over 200 employees who went for their first dose. So we know that it made a difference in people’s decision to get the vaccine. “

Reese explained that it has been a huge effort to verify the immunization status of almost 8,000. She said that replacements are already in place to replace the handful of teachers who are leaving.

Ahead of a school board meeting next week to discuss a possible vaccination requirement for eligible students, the district wants to hear from families. Click here to learn more about virtual town halls.

About Rachel Gooch

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