Skip to main content

PFT President Jerry Jordan on Vaccine Mandate, Necessary Course Corrections in Health & Safety Plan

August 24, 2021

In advance of this evening's board vote on a vaccine mandate, PFT President Jerry Jordan issued the following statement:

PHILADELPHIA—"This union has been very clear from the start-- we support vaccines, and we have been urging every member to get vaccinated. Further, we have expressed our support for a negotiated vaccine mandate. As an AFT Vice President, I helped craft our national position on vaccine mandates. But let us not forget that while a vaccine mandate is warranted and very important, nearly 90% of educators nationwide have been vaccinated.

"It is imperative to note that our students in PreK-7 are not yet even eligible for the vaccine. As such, each day, tens of thousands of unvaccinated individuals will be entering our buildings. A multilayered mitigation strategy is absolutely key—vaccines, universal masking, and universal testing. Earlier this month, we shared testimony with the PA House Democratic Policy committee on critical safety measures.

"The Board's proposed resolution suggests a broad framework for a vaccine mandate. Should it pass, the District will need to work closely with us to develop and negotiate the terms of implementation.

"Further, it is imperative that the Board and the District act on additional safety measures. The District last week said that students need to be in class instead of getting COVID tests—but regular COVID tests for students is one of the key ways that we can not only open schools but keep them open. Testing must include asymptomatic students, and despite millions of dollars in available funding, the District has opted not to test asymptomatic students. I applaud the nine members of City Council who issued a letter to the District to urge them to reverse course and re-implement universal testing.

"The District must take every step to mitigate this deadly virus, and I urge them to make the necessary course corrections in their health and safety plan. This should include regular testing of students as well as an accurate and timely COVID reporting dashboard.

"We know that vaccines, masking, and regular testing for both students and staff are the best way to open schools and keep them open. This union has followed the science, has supported vaccines, and has done everything within our collective power to advocate for a safe and healthy return to in-person learning."


Share This