KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City, Missouri, Public Schools Board of Education met on Wednesday with less than two weeks before classes begin – and one board member introduced the idea of requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for students who are 12 years old and older.
Manny Abarca brought the issue to the board, citing low vaccination rates in the metro. However, no votes were taken on the issue.
#KansasCity if you think the best way to keep safe is through vaccination, join me tonight at the @kcpublicschools Board meeting starting at 6:30pm. To prevent the spread of COVID consider joining us online here: https://t.co/LZSPMz0zFD— Manny Abarca (@MannyforKC) August 11, 2021
"I think that's the necessary step in this current pandemic we have to take," Abarca previously told KSHB 41 News. "And it's not something new or uncommon; this is something we already require. We already require vaccines for different diseases that have eradicated those diseases, but this is not new."
On Wednesday, Abarca questioned what qualifies shots to prevent measles and mumps to be required. A district official said that many vaccines are mandated at the state or federal level.
Superintendent Mark Bedell addressed in-person learning and reiterated that all students, staff, teachers and visitors will be required to wear masks.
"If you are wearing a mask, it significantly reduces transmission," Bedell said.
At the KCPS Board of Directors meeting tonight as the first day of classes begin in less than two weeks. One proposal from board member Manny Abarca would be to require vaccinations for students 12+ to protect against COVID-19. @KSHB41 pic.twitter.com/euEIqhk0R8— Nick Starling (@NickStarlingTV) August 11, 2021
The district already will require staff to be vaccinated, with at least one dose administered by the start of school on Aug. 23. Bedell said staff members who choose not to be vaccinated will be required to be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis.
Vaccinated staff members who need to quarantine will not need to take personal time, according to Bedell, but those who are unvaccinated would be required to use their own personal time off.
Free COVID-19 testing is available at all KCPS schools.
There also will be weekly screening for students who are not fully vaccinated.
Students and drivers also will be required to wear masks on KCPS transportation, and will enter buses from front to back – with assigned seating to assist in contact tracing.
Custodians, according to Bedell, will clean high-touch areas frequently. Personal-protective equipment also has been delivered to district buildings.
District officials will share COVID-19 information through email, text message and calls, Talking Points, social media, its website and weekly newsletter and "school-specific information," the district tweeted Wednesday night.
Classes at KCPS begin Aug. 23.