Montgomery County Public Schools employees will have extra time to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination because many have had trouble uploading their records, according to school board members.
On Tuesday, the school board unanimously passed an amendment to its vaccination mandate, pushing back the deadline for employees to verify they’ve been at least partially vaccinated from Sept. 29 to Oct. 15.
The deadline to provide proof of full vaccination was delayed from Oct. 29 to Nov. 15.
The school board did not discuss its reasoning for the change during the meeting. But in an interview afterward, board President Brenda Wolff said the decision was made because many employees have had trouble uploading their proof of vaccination and need help.
The staff members have to receive a copy of their records from the state Department of Health, then upload the file to an MCPS online portal, Wolff said.
The process can be confusing and difficult, so MCPS officials plan to do more outreach to provide assistance, Wolff said.
In late September, MCPS reported that about 78% of employees had submitted proof of vaccination.
The mandate also applies to contractors and volunteers.
As the Montgomery County Council considers a similar mandate for county employees, officials have reported similar problems.
In a recent call with reporters, Council President Tom Hucker and Vice President Gabe Albornoz said there were multiple reasons why many employees haven’t reported their vaccination status. They might have missed the notice to report it, haven’t found the time or had difficulty uploading and downloading the necessary documentation, they said.
As of Tuesday, 98.6% of county residents age 12 or older were partially vaccinated and 89.4% were fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org