The Little Falls School Board approved Policy 491, which relates to mandatory COVID-19 vaccination or testing and face coverings, Monday.
While the policy was approved, Supt. Stephen Jones said that the district will not implement it at this time in the sense of requiring employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or if unvaccinated, to mask up and be tested for COVID weekly. The reason for approving the policy was simply to give the district time to prepare and be ready, just in case.
As the Biden Administration is seeking to require COVID vaccinations in the workplace, Jones said the district is waiting to find out what the United States Supreme Court’s decision will be on the issue. Only then, if it is in support of the Biden Administration efforts, will the Little Falls School District implement Policy 941.
Another scenario, which may require the Little Falls School District, along with other school districts in Minnesota, to implement the policy, is if the United States Supreme Court leaves the decision to each state to make.
Initially, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) allowed businesses and other workplaces with 100 or more employees time until Jan. 10 to comply with its requirements under its Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS). OSHA also said in an update that it wouldn’t issue any citations until Feb. 9 for noncompliance with the standard’s testing requirements, provided that the employer is exercising reasonable, good faith efforts to come into compliance with the standard.
Jones said that by being ready to implement the policy, if necessary by law, whether federal or state or both, the district can avoid getting potentially cited for not being ready. However, if neither state or federal law require employees to be fully vaccinated or if unvaccinated, to wear a face covering and submit to weekly COVID testing, Policy 491 will not be implemented, Jones said.