Vicksburg Warren School District implements $1,000 employee vaccine incentive

Published 2:50 pm Monday, November 1, 2021

A majority of employees in the Vicksburg Warren School District are now eligible for a monetary incentive if they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

During Thursday’s meeting of the VWSD Board of Trustees, an “inoculation incentive” was approved. All staff members are eligible for the $1,000 incentive, except for contractors. School board members are also not eligible to receive the incentive.

VWSD Associate Superintendent Dr. Cedric Magee presented an overview of the incentive program to the school board. The program will be funded through federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, or ESSER, funds, he said.

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“ESSER Funds may be used in a variety of ways, including incentives for staff members to receive their COVID vaccination,” Magee said. “So, local education agencies may incentivize vaccinations for personnel through amended contracts for licensed employees and agreements for at-will employees.

“If implementing a vaccine incentive program, local education agencies may have local boards approve prior to implementation and the local education agency must have written procedures to determine the liability of the cost and to maintain effective controls over the board.”

Magee went on to explain the purpose of the program: increase the number of employees who choose to get vaccinated and motivate employees to get vaccinated sooner than they would have with no incentive. An employee is fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after the first dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccination, according to the incentive documents.

“There is an ongoing benefit to our students and the district when employees are fully vaccinated. An employee who is in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case does not have to quarantine,” Magee said. “This allows them to continue to work. Teachers do not have to obtain a substitute, which is cost-saving to the district. But more importantly, students are able to continue receiving quality instruction with their teacher in front of them.”

Employees who already received the vaccine will be eligible for the incentive, in addition to employees who choose to get the vaccine following the approval of the incentive program.

In order to get the incentive money, employees will be required to complete a Google Form with a series of questions including the type of vaccine chosen, date of first and second vaccination where applicable and the school at which they are employed. They are also required to upload proof of vaccination.

Employees who submit documentation and complete the form by Nov. 12 will receive their incentive by Dec. 17. Employees who were not fully vaccinated during the first round must have all documentation submitted by Feb. 18, 2022, and will receive their incentive pay by March 18.