By Tom Latek
Lawmakers passed a bill banning a statewide mask mandate in schools in favor of leaving decisions to local districts in the special session that ended Thursday, but it did not addressed compulsory vaccination.
However, several members of the General Assembly have discussed the fact that companies and other entities are implementing vaccination incentives, and that is what officials in public schools are doing.
The Kentucky Department of Education announced that it plans to use up to $ 8.8 million in elementary and secondary school emergency relief funds to reimburse districts that have rewarded and recognized the time , the energy and effort staff took to get the vaccine.
All full-time and part-time public school district employees are eligible for a one-time vaccination incentive payment of $ 100 after being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This includes employees who have already been vaccinated, as well as those who will be fully vaccinated by December 1, 2021. There will be sufficient funds to reimburse districts for approximately 88,000 local school district staff.
“Getting people vaccinated is one of the main ways out of this pandemic and back into our classrooms as usual,” Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass said. “We hope this will encourage people to get vaccinated in order to protect their students, their colleagues and themselves. “
Districts must first pay employees in order to receive reimbursement from KDE. In addition, the department strongly urges local districts to consider providing additional funds corresponding to the amount provided by KDE, but financial matching is not required for districts to participate in the incentive program.
Currently, vaccine appointments are available in many locations across the state. To find a vaccination site near you, visit www.vaccines.gov. You can also text your zip code to 438829 to receive a text message with three vaccine locations near you.