ANKENY, Iowa – A new policy went into effect at Ankeny Community School District after the school board unanimously voted Tuesday night to comply with the federal COVID-19 vaccine requirement for employees.
“The way the law is written and the way OSHA will enforce it, I guarantee you they will enforce it on a school district like Ankeny,” Board of Education President Trent Murphy said. “So for me I’m in a corner of voting on something I don’t want to vote on, but I don’t have a choice.”
Superintendent Dr. Erick Pruitt says adjustments could be made after the Supreme Court is expected to rule on the requirement on Friday. But once the school board voted yes, the policy went into effect immediately.
Employees at Ankeny School District can follow a couple different avenues. If they are vaccinated, they must submit proof of vaccination. If they are not vaccinated, they must wear masks at work and provide a negative COVID-19 test weekly. They can also request an exemption for either getting vaccinated, testing for COVID-19, or wearing a mask.
Lori Bullock is a parent in the district. She said voting yes was the right move, and says she wouldn’t be surprised by a vaccination requirement for students if vaccines are given full approval by the FDA.
“Looking around the country at staff shortages because of COVID, this is going to be a way that Ankeny can ensure that we’re doing everything we can to keep teachers in the classroom, to keep our kids in the classroom so that they can engage in that learning environment,” Bullock said.
The district’s lawyer said OSHA’s enforcement of this is delayed due to the Supreme Court ruling.
Currently, Ankeny does not have a mask requirement for students or staff.