MIAMI (WSVN) - As local and federal leaders continue to take steps to protect people against COVID-19, Miami-Dade County Public Schools has announced they will be providing a stipend to employees who show proof that they are fully vaccinated.
The Miami-Dade County School Board passed Item D-23 on Thursday. It will provide a one-time $275 incentive stipend for fully vaccinated school district employees.
“I think this is the right thing. We now have pretty close to 100% of our employees under this protective measure and with the appropriate financial incentive to guarantee that our workforce perhaps becomes the single largest and first in the country to be fully immunized,” said M-DCPS Superintendent Alberto Carvalho.
United Teachers of Dade President Karla Hernández-Mats said the board’s approval of the incentive measure comes not a moment too soon.
“We believe it is extremely important as we try to make sure that we’re doing everything we can on our end to provide safe environments for our students and for our workforce,” she said.
The school district’s announcement comes after President Joe Biden unveiled an “action plan” to help stem the latest coronavirus surge that is being driven by the delta variant.
The plan will require federal workers, contractors and certain healthcare workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. It will also require employees at companies with 100 or more workers to be vaccinated or tested weekly and lays the groundwork for a booster shot campaign.
During his address on Thursday, Biden did not hold back when he spoke directly to state governors who are putting educators’ salaries on the line for implementing mask mandates and other policies.
“Let me be blunt. My plan also takes on elected officials in states that are undermining you,” he said.
The commander in chief described these state leaders as “bullies” for getting in the way of what he called “doing the right thing.”
“These governors won’t help to speed the pandemic. I’ll use my power as president to get them out of the way,” he said.
School officials in some Florida counties continue to be at odds with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis regarding their mask policies.
“The Department of Education has already begun to take legal action against states undermining protections that local school officials have ordered,” said Biden.
This week, a judge sided with school districts, saying the governor cannot punish districts for enforcing mask mandates.
DeSantis said he is confident he’ll win an upcoming appeal.
Broward County school officials are still waiting for millions of dollars in COVID relief funds approved by the federal government. They believe the governor has something to do with why they have not received the funds.
The commander in chief’s plan also makes recommendations on keeping schools open and recommends that large venues require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.
“We know what works in schools. We know that getting your kids vaccinated if they’re 12 and older works. We know having more adults, teachers, people who are working in schools [vaccinated] works,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
But not everyone is pleased with the decisions leaders are making. A group of parents staged a protest outside the Miami-Dade County School Board Administration building in Miami.
“Our kids are caught in the middle,” said a protester.
A large sign demonstrators held up read “Mask tyrants, where is your Science?”
“They have no science. They have no reason, and it’s the most ridiculous thing to do,” said a protester.
Inside the building, Carvalho talked briefly about the president’s COVID plan.
“We are going through the plan. I can tell you there are some areas that will require some considerable amount of work on our part. There are some areas also that are in direct conflict with current state statutes,” he said.
M-DCPS is one of several school districts across the country taking steps to protect students, faculty and staff from the virus. The Los Angeles County School Board is set to vote on requiring all students 12 and older who are going to school in person to be fully vaccinated.
Local leaders said doing as much as possible to protect staff and students against the virus while in school, including vaccinations, is the most effective option.
“If we’re vaccinated, not only are we protecting ourselves, but we’re also protecting those that are around us,” said Hernández-Mats.
Biden said the federal government will pay 100% of any teacher or school official’s salary that is withheld by the state.
For more information about vaccination options for students and employees in Miami-Dade County, click here. For information about locations for Broward County Public Schools students and staff, click here.
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