Newport issues vaccine mandate for all teachers, school staff

East Bay

NEWPORT, R.I (WPRI) — Effective Wednesday, all teachers and staff members at Newport Public Schools are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Parents were notified of the change last week in a letter from Superintendent Colleen Burns Jermain. The new requirement was approved by the Newport School Committee last month. The committee initially voted 6-1 in favor of amending the language of the mandate, then later voted 5-2 in regards to the policy.

Teachers or staff members who choose not to get vaccinated must provide the district with a negative PCR test each week.

The district is also encouraging all eligible students to get vaccinated, adding that the goal is to keep them in the classroom while also ensuring everyone is as safe as possible.

12 News reached out to the National Education Association of Rhode Island (NEARI), which said in a statement that they support the measure.

“We applaud management for coming to the table to bargain the impact,” NEARI said.

Face masks are still required in all Newport schools regardless of vaccination status. The district is also aiming to increase COVID testing.

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