The public school district in Willmar had to put 11 employees on leave when they refused to comply with some simple rules.
The policy gave staff three options:
- Provide proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
- Wear a mask at work beginning Jan. 10 and submit to weekly COVID-19 testing beginning Feb. 9.
- Meet with Human Resources about possible medical or religious exemptions.
They had so many outs! I rather resent the last one — praying does not deter a virus — but they couldn’t even meet those minimal requirements.
The shocking bit, though, is that some of them were teachers.
“There were eleven staff members placed on leave on Tuesday. Some of them were teachers, others were hourly employees,” Superintendent Dr. Jeff Holm wrote in an email to Bring Me The News, noting that the employees placed on leave “opted not to comply with any of the options.”
Holm said that the school board approved the policy to begin Jan. 10 and that employees were give “ample notice” of their three options. Holm added that the district was warned about possible “substantial financial penalties for non-compliant employees.”
It’s been reported elsewhere that one employee refused to leave and was escorted out of the building by a supervisor, but Holm confirmed to BMTN that the employee who was “escorted” out had requested that of their supervisor.
The 11 who have been placed on leave represent a tiny fraction of the district’s estimated 800 employees.
Don’t put these people on leave, fire them. The silver lining here is that this rule has exposed a tiny group of intransigent incompetents who don’t deserve to be employed as educators.
Willmar, by the way, is about an hour’s drive from where I live, and while it’s still rural, it’s not filled with yokels — Ridgewater Community College has a campus there.