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Jackson schools votes to provide bonuses for staff who receive COVID vaccinations

Money comes from federal COVID grants
Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 6:33 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2021 at 9:02 PM EST
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JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - Jackson Public School workers will get an extra bonus for getting the COVID-19 shot.

The school board decided Tuesday night that employees will get a $1,000 bonus if they get the vaccine by the end of the month.

Related: Health leaders worried as flu season ramps up in Michigan

“In my opinion, it’s just kind of giving the teachers a little bit of extra thank you for all the hard work that they do,” said Nate Howard, whose daughter goes to JPS Montessori Center. “They’re trying to basically work ahead of the curve and trying to be innovative about trying to keep students protected. $1,000, I think, is kind of low.”

But not everyone agrees this is the best way for the district to spend its federal COVID relief money.

“I kind of lean towards if it’s better to be around the children, then it shouldn’t be an option. They should be vaccinated. They shouldn’t have to be bribed to do it,” said Gina Lawrence.

More than 80% of the staff at Jackson Public Schools already have the COVID-19 vaccine. Superintendent Jeff Beal said this incentive will bring that number closer to 95%.

“We simply want to do our part to try and make certain that our community, that our workforce is as healthy as possible,” said Beal.

Any employee or contractor would be eligible, no matter when they got the shot.

They just need to get the first dose by December 1.

Beal said the ultimate goal is to keep students in the classroom.

“Keeping classrooms open, keeping students in front of our teachers so I’m not trying to find a substitute teacher, which doesn’t exist, I’m not trying to find staffing that doesn’t exist,” said Beal.

The proposal included a provision for people to get the bonus if they can’t get the vaccine for medical or religious reasons.

For more information on the COVID vaccine and where to get vaccinated, visit the state’s official COVID-19 Vaccine website here.

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