Aurora Public Schools expects staff will be required to be vaccinated unless they have an exemption. Is that legal?
DENVER — Your resume is polished, your outfit is on point, you are ready for that job interview and then comes a question you were not expecting:
Yeah, it is a legitimate question that can be asked.
And next school year, Aurora Public Schools will expect the answer to be yes.
“If you choose not to, I think you’re choosing not to work for APS,” said Aurora Public Schools Superintendent Rico Munn. “Once there are vaccines or a vaccine approved fully by the FDA, that all of our staff will be required to be vaccinated as a condition of employment, unless they have an exemption.”
In a letter to staff, Munn said Aurora Public Schools will expect employees to be vaccinated next school year, as long as one of the vaccines if fully approved, not just with emergency approval.
“This will be new for us, and it will probably be unique for the ’21-’22 school year,” said Munn.
RELATED: Aurora Public Schools to require COVID vaccinations for staff
Teachers and staff will be exempt if they have religious or medical reasons. Simply not wanting the vaccine is not an option.
“Employers have the right to make certain restrictions in circumstances that are outside of federally protected areas,” said Munn. “What we know is we need our staff to be healthy and available to serve our kids, and so like anything else that we do here, we need to make sure that you’re in a position to do that.”
“There currently is litigation on this exact issue, actually, in Los Angeles,” said 9NEWS legal analyst Whitney Traylor.
Several employees with the Los Angeles Unified School District are suing over a vaccine requirement. Though, the lawsuit is challenging the requirement of a vaccine that has emergency approval. Aurora Public Schools’ requirement would not be effective until one of the vaccines has full approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
“If it does get the full authorization and then they make that position, I think the courts are clear that the schools can require those vaccinations,” said Traylor. “For the most part, I think an employer can, and in this case the schools can, lawfully require the vaccine for its employees.”
A Republican-sponsored bill at the Colorado Capitol, which would restrict employers and businesses from making decisions based on vaccination status, got a hearing on Wednesday. The bill also would have restricted the state mandating vaccinations, which so far is not required.
“This bill was not introduced to discourage, dissuade or prohibit COVID-19 vaccination,” said Rep. Kim Ranso (R-Lone Tree). “It seeks to shield individuals from forced vaccination by outlawing mandates and using private businesses as long arms of the law.”
It was still being debated Wednesday night, but was expected to be killed in the committee.
RELATED: Colorado health providers get the ok to give Pfizer COVID vaccine to anyone over 12
“I think it does go along those lines as ‘no shirt, no shoes, no service,'” said Traylor.
Just like businesses have been able to mandate masks for service, refusing someone’s business based on vaccination status appears to be a legit business decision.
“At this point, the people who are choosing (not to get vaccinated) are not a protected class. The courts have not said this has been a group that’s been historically discriminated against, so now we’re going to protect them,” said Traylor.
Colorado’s major public universities have already said students will be required to be vaccinated for the next school year. Though, the University of Colorado and Colorado State University allow for a personal exemption, as well as medical or religious.
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