Milwaukee Teachers Union Supports Potential Vaccine Mandate For MPS Teachers

Milwaukee's School Board To Vote On Vaccine Mandate Thursday Night

Syringes filled with Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines sit at the ready at a vaccination clinic.
In this June 3, 2021, photo, syringes filled with Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines sit at the ready at a vaccination clinic at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee says all public, charter and private school teachers and staff must be fully vaccinated or else risk losing their jobs. The COVID-19 vaccine mandate announced Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021, includes those working at the state’s colleges and universities. Elaine Thompson/AP Photo

The Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association said it is in favor of a vaccine mandate for teachers and staff, as long as it includes recognized exemptions and protects the legal rights of union members.

“Vaccination is our ticket out of this pandemic,” said union leader Amy Mizialko. “It’s our responsibility, those of us who can be vaccinated, to become vaccinated to keep our students safe.”

The Teachers’ Education Association is also calling for monetary incentives for teachers, staff and students who are vaccinated, which the Milwaukee Public Schools board has also been considering.

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“The school board can vote tonight to put out a significant and real cash incentive to students and to staff. Incentives have been implemented all across the country,” said Mizialko. “If incentives can help prevent transmission, and help prevent students from becoming sick and schools closing, then that’s what we need to do.”

School board members are set to vote on a potential vaccine mandate Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Mizialko also criticized the city for not passing a new indoor mask mandate, saying city officials weren’t doing enough to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“All we see the city doing for the past two months is posting cute memes on social media reminding folks of the importance of universal masking, but doing nothing, refusing to take any real action on their part to keep the people of this city safe,” said Mizialko. “We can’t just say that we care about students, and care about keeping schools open, and then refuse to do the bare minimum to make that happen.”

Morse Middle School in Milwaukee has already pivoted to virtual learning for 10 days after it surpassed the 3 percent positive COVID-19 case threshold to close.

Mizialko said the district doesn’t have a record of staff or student vaccinations, and she doesn’t know what percentage of Milwaukee Public Schools teachers and staff have been vaccinated.

The Madison Metropolitan School District is also set to consider a vaccine mandate for teachers and staff later this month. The Madison teachers’ union has also come out in favor of a mandate.

Wisconsin’s largest teachers’ union, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, has come out in favor of universal masking and the vaccination of all teachers and staff who are medically able.