San Diego Unified Begins Termination for Teachers Who Have Not Gotten COVID Vaccine

Written by William Hekman

Teachers in San Diego Unified School District will be terminated from their position if they do not get fully vaccinated against COVID or receive an approved exemption. The district will be enforcing this starting Monday. San Diego Unified has had a number of their COVID policies come under fire. Their COVID vaccine mandate for students has been going through the legal system for a number of months and they recently changed a policy that banned workouts for out-of-season sports after backlash from parents and coaches. 

According to CBS 8, many are being quiet about the policy out of fear of retaliation. Dr. Amanda Morris said, “Our leadership, unfortunately, is making some pretty horrendous comments stating our department and district would be better off if the unvaccinated would just quit”. Morris worked for San Diego Unified for 15 years as a mental health clinician. Morris said she received a number of calls from colleagues, many of which are extremely qualified, who said they had already received termination letters from the district. Morris was able to receive a religious exemption. Morris said that the layoffs will only hurt students as the district is already short-staffed and many children need specialized help in their education, “By losing more clinicians in the middle of a mental health crisis, is just mind-blowing. And have students go without having IEP services”. IEP stands for Individualized Education Plans which are primarily reserved for students with autism or other disabilities. 

Attorney Dan Eaton said that employees who are terminated can seek an appeal, “They should contact their union rep and frankly one of the things [they should do is] contact the person who sent the letter [ask] are there any internal appeals. Those are going to be exhausted before they return to the courts” said Eaton. So far, 99% of SDUSD employees have been fully vaccinated or were granted an exemption. Local advocacy group Let Them Breathe said they have resources available to district employees and information about their rights. 

Photo Cred: Fox 5 San Diego