Orange County teachers have 30 days to get vaccinated after Pfizer’s shot gets FDA approval

COVID-19 and schools

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Orange County is the first school district in the Triangle to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for teachers.

In a meeting last week, the Orange County School Board voted to require the vaccine for teachers once they get full approval from the Food and Drug Administration. That approval for Pfizer’s vaccine came on Monday.

As part of the school board’s decision, teachers will have 30 days to get vaccinated. 

“I absolutely prefer that my child’s teacher be vaccinated, for sure, because my child can’t get vaccinated,” said Jenny McKay, whose child attends River Park Elementary.

The school board chair said the vaccine will be a term of employment. They won’t know how many teachers have already been vaccinated until next week. 

The vaccine mandate comes as the district faces a shortage of at least 16 teachers. CBS 17 spoke with 15 parents in the pick-up line outside of River Oak Elementary. Two were against the mandate and said vaccines should be a personal medical decision. The rest said they support the school board’s decision.

“I feel so much safer,” said Amy Gray. “I feel so much better sending my kids to school. If I knew that the house didn’t have it, I would be much more nervous.”

Anything to help me not get the virus, just to put some extra precaution in little place between me and getting sick,” added Cedar High School student Quinn Finnegan.

The COVID-19 vaccine is not mandated for students in Orange County Schools, but the board did vote to require student-athletes and those involved in extracurricular activities to be tested twice a week. 

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