BOSTON — During a news conference at the YMCA in Roxbury Wednesday morning, acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey said 812 workers from five city departments are on unpaid leave after being deemed non-compliant with the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate as the first phase of the vaccination requirement for city workers ends. A few hours later, around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, the city announced that now 637 phase one employees were out of compliance with its vaccine mandate.
“If they do not, then they will be placed on administrative leave. We have to make sure our workforce is protected and safe from COVID and the public we serve, but the goal is to get everyone in compliance. It is not to see people out on administrative leave,” Janey said.
The five departments in Phase 1 include Boston Public Schools, Boston Public Libraries, the Disability Commission, the Boston Center for Youth and Families and the Age Strong Commission.
Those city employees had a Tuesday deadline to get vaccinated or provide proof of a negative COVID test every week.
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Janey also said they are in talks with the National Guard about adding more testing at the city’s schools.
The Boston Teacher’s Union told Boston 25 News “that close to 99% of our teachers have successfully complied with the vaccine and testing mandate,” said Jessica Tang, president of the Boston Teacher’s Union.
While BPS is the city’s largest department, other city departments have later deadlines.
Janey says Phase 2 will include firefighters and police officers.
Eventually all 18,000 city employees will be required to be in compliance.
“If they continue to not comply, yes, at some point it will lead to termination. But the goal, again, is to make sure we are giving our workers every opportunity to comply,” Janey said.
Mayor Janey has not said when Phase 2 will start.
Boston city employees can get COVID-19 tests for free, but they will not be paid if they are suspended.
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