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Anne Arundel school system: 91% of employees are fully vaccinated, unvaccinated must submit to weekly COVID testing

As of Monday, any Anne Arundel County Public Schools employee who isn’t fully vaccinated will need to submit to weekly testing for COVID-19.

Employees completed an online form this month, where 91% of the system’s approximately 11,000 employees reported they are fully vaccinated. The school system defines being “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19 as a person who has had their final dose of their vaccine regimen at least two weeks ago, meaning either one dose of Johnson & Johnson or two doses of Moderna or Pfizer. While all adults in the United States are now also eligible for a booster shot, it is currently not being mandated by the school system.

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Superintendent George Arlotto told the board last week that 8% of staff either said they were not vaccinated or declined to share their vaccination status and less than 1% didn’t respond. Those employees will need to be tested weekly for COVID-19.

Schools spokesperson Bob Mosier said he is not aware of any employee resignations related to the vaccination or weekly testing mandate. The county offers free COVID-19 testing at clinics in Shady Side, Annapolis and Glen Burnie. The vaccine is also available for free at county clinics.

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Student-athletes also faced the Monday deadline for vaccination, or they will need to submit to weekly testing as well. Mosier said athletes began filling out forms Monday, where they will report if they are vaccinated, unvaccinated or decline to say.

At the Board of Education meeting Nov. 17, Deputy Superintendent Monique Jackson said the goal of the mandate is to allow athletes to compete as safely as possible and to reduce the number of quarantined students.

Jackson said the system is asking students to confirm their vaccination status this week because the time period falls after tryouts and the assembly of winter teams.

With the responses in-hand, the system will be able to schedule COVID-19 testing for students-athletes. A vendor working for the system will provide schools with a date and time for weekly testing, Jackson said, and that schedule will vary depending on how many students need to be tested. If a student misses testing because of illness or an emergency, the system will work with that student to reschedule, Jackson said.

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