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Olmsted County employers won’t require vaccines after Supreme Court decision

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 10:10 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – With the Supreme Court’s ruling putting a halt on President Biden’s “vaccine or test” mandate, multiple local entities will not be moving forward with requirements.

“For those that have not provided proof of vaccine, they were going to be subjected to a negative, submitting a weekly negative COVID test, and we have no plans of implementing that at this time,” said Julian Currie, the human resources director for Olmsted County.

“We have not made any plans to do that and I would not recommend that,” said Rochester Public Schools Interim Superintendent Kent Pekel.

For Olmsted County and RPS, this somewhat sudden change in plans came with many implications.

“The staff and I have been on a big rollercoaster ride. A lot of work has gone into the preparation of the anticipation of this mandate coming,” said Currie.

“We were concerned that a number of our employees who have not gotten vaccinated might choose to not continue working in our school district, and on a day when we have announced that we are moving to distanced learning because of staffing shortages, that was a huge concern,” said Pekel.

Without a mandate, both workspaces already have a high vaccination rate, which is currently hovering around 90%.

“When the vast majority of people are doing it by choice, I would be reluctant to move in the direction of a mandate,” said Pekel.

“The only reason why we were even in conversation around this weekly testing was in preparation of the mandate,” said Currie.

As for the prospect of future mandates...

“We are just going to put all that work on the shelf,” said Currie.

“Should another mandate that would withstand court scrutiny be developed, of course, we would comply,” said Pekel.

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