Students and teachers need to remember a number of things for the first day of school. In Glencoe, they will need to remember one more: documentation of their COVID-19 vaccination status.
Glencoe District 35 will require all staff and eligible students to “submit documentation of vaccination,” according to a memo from Superintendent Dr. Catherine Wang to the board of education.
“In order to most effectively and efficiently monitor health plans and required steps should positive COVID cases occur, we will be requiring all staff and students to submit documentation of vaccination,” Wang says in the memo. “Such details will ensure we may efficiently provide details to families and staff regarding quarantine protocols, if needed.”
During the board’s Thursday, June 3 meeting, Wang told board members that the district will be creating a system to upload and record the vaccination status of its for staff and students.
Doing so will allow the district to “really move more swiftly with protocols,” Wang said.
“It’s no different than any other immunization record,” she said. “Having that allows us moving forward to make a much more timely decision when a positive COVID case occurs.”
As of publication time, the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine cleared for use in 12- to 15-year-olds in the United States. Kaitlin Eden, a communications specialist for the district, confirmed that the district will only ask for the vaccination status of students who are 12 or older.
“We would only ask our students who are 12 and older if they have received the vaccine or if they have not, and if they have, we’re going to ask for proof of the vaccination card,” Eden said. “Those things will help us determine next school year if a positive case pops up in the school, what that would mean for other individuals within the school community.”
All staff members employed by the district, including teachers, support staff, custodians, administrators and substitute teachers, are also required to submit, Eden told The Record.
The district’s decision to require documentation of vaccination status is not a vaccine mandate, according to the district.
Public school districts are subject to the mandates of the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois State Board of Education and thus, cannot require students to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Wang said in the memo that a districtwide planning committee will meet to “define plans for the new school year” in preparation for the 2021-22 year.
“The social-emotional needs of our students and staff will be prioritized as planning continues to open the year with a renewed emphasis on connections and classroom community,” she said. “We will continue to share updates as the summer progresses.”
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Martin Carlino is a co-founder and the senior editor who assigns and edits The Record stories, while also bylining articles every week. Martin is an experienced and award-winning education reporter who was the editor of The Northbrook Tower.