During the Sept. 23 Corvallis School Board meeting, the board voted on two issues unique to the times in which we live.
The first was a resolution to mandate vaccines for school board members if not medically ineligible to do so. This was originally proposed by Board Chair Sami Al-AbdRabbuh as a means of standing with the school teachers, staff, parents, and volunteers.
Board member Luhui Whitebear asked that the wording of the mandate be changed slightly to respect that the state of Oregon allowed for exemptions for other than religious or medical reasons. She suggested the wording read, “Documented exemption as outlined by Oregon’s exemption laws.”
The mandate passed unanimously with the change in wording Whitebear suggested.
Al-AbdRabbuh added, “It is truly the least we can do.”
The second major decision made was to provide Superintendent Ryan Noss with the right to investigate and review the possibility to require vaccines for all eligible students — including students under the age of 12 when the Food and Drug Administration has approved vaccines for that age range. This is seen as a means of protecting not only the students and staff, but also as a means of keeping students in schools.
Noss noted that vaccination status has delayed the progress of contact tracing in some cases, and that this would allow the schools to avoid future delays.
Board member Shauna Tominey asked about the inclusion of vaccine information in other languages through trusted voices in their communities, and asked that community engagement begin sooner rather than later.
The support of Noss to begin investigation of this issue was approved unanimously.