From request to requirement: How soon MMSD could mandate all teachers receive the COVID-19 vaccine

MADISON, Wis. — It started as a request, and soon, could become a requirement. Monday night, the Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education is expected to discuss a resolution that would ask administrators to draft a vaccine requirement plan for teachers and staff by September 20th.

Simply put: Madison teachers could soon be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

If passed, the policy would be the first-of-its-kind in Wisconsin. No other district in the Badger state mandates vaccines… yet.

“We want to do everything we can to make sure our children are safe and our staff members are safe,” outlined Dr. Carlton Jenkins, MMSD Superintendent, in a media call Friday. “We’re responsible for our community.”

Jenkins joined 85% of Madison-area teachers, as surveyed by Madison Teachers Inc., in backing a vaccine mandate. He said it’s the best way to keep his district’s 27,000 students in the classroom all school year.

Days out from the start of the fall semester, MMSD’s 52 schools are reporting about 95% enrollment, which means buildings will be close to full. MMSD is the second-largest district in the state of Wisconsin.

“We can be in school and, if we implement our mitigation strategies, we can safely remain in school,” Jenkins said.

“Unless there’s something that happens differently, because we are in the middle of a pandemic,” he added.

Right now, MMSD doesn’t have a specific plan for returning to online-only learning, should a widespread outbreak occur. Instead, the district plans on addressing students and staff who become COVID positive on a case-by-case basis.

“We will be diligent,” Jenkins promised.

Once a vaccine requirement plan is presented at the Madison School Board’s Sept. 20th meeting, board members could vote on it as soon as Sept. 27th.

RELATED: Masks for all, distancing cut in half: The latest recommendations for the start of the 2021-22 school year