Vaccine Mandate-Staff FAQ’s
Does an employee have to disclose their vaccination status?
- Yes. The Board of Education has mandated the documentation of vaccination status for every employee and volunteer.
What does “Fully-Vaccinated” mean?
- “Fully-vaccinated” refers to an individual who has received the first and second doses of the vaccine (or, in the case of Johnson & Johnson, the single required dose) and has completed the 14-day period that follows to ensure maximum immunity.
Does an employee have to be vaccinated if they have already had COVID-19?
- Yes, they are still required to get vaccinated to be fully protected against getting COVID-19. According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, it is recommended they get the vaccination as soon as their isolation is over and their symptoms are gone.
Does an employee have to be vaccinated if they are pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Although, currently, there is no contraindication to the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy or if a person is breastfeeding, it is recommended that they consult with their doctor to determine whether or not they qualify for a medical exemption. The Center for Disease Control recently issued guidance recommending vaccination for pregnant women and new moms.
Do volunteers need to be vaccinated?
- Yes, all volunteers must submit proof of vaccination.
Are EMUHSD employees required to take time off to receive the vaccination or do so outside of work hours?
- Employees may receive the vaccine and/or accompany their child to receive the vaccine during paid working hours.
What happens if an employee chooses not to be vaccinated or otherwise fails to provide proof of vaccination?
- Effective January 3, 2022, employees who fail to provide proof of vaccination will be sent home and placed on an unpaid leave of absence for 90 days, after which employees who fail to provide proof of vaccination will be subject to discipline, including termination.
What if an employee refuses to be vaccinated due to a medical condition or religious belief?
- Although the District is requiring vaccines for all employees, the District will review any submitted request(s) for medical or religious exemptions and engage as needed in an interactive process to determine if an employee is qualified for a reasonable accommodation and whether such accommodation exists without imposing a direct threat or undue hardship.
How does an employee apply for a medical or religious exemption?
- Both medical and religious exemptions forms are posted on our District website here.
Can an employee apply for unemployment?
- Please visit https://edd.ca.gov/ or contact your union representative for further assistance.
How do I submit a religious or medical exemption?
- New employees are required to submit their exemption request through the Human Resources Department.
If an exemption or accommodation is denied, will specific reasons for the denial be given?
- Yes, both the decision and rationale for the decision will be given to the employee.
Will there be an appeals process?
- EMUHSD Board Policy AR 4032 does contemplate an appeals process for disability accommodations.
When will an employee be able to return to work if an employee remains unvaccinated?
- An unvaccinated employee will be permitted to return to work after providing proof of full vaccination or if the employee is otherwise granted an exemption.
Will an employee be allowed to return to the same school site if they go on an unpaid leave?
- The process is outlined in the ‘Leave’ articles in the respective collective bargaining agreements.
If an employee gets placed on unpaid administrative leave, are they still covered by health insurance (including family members) under their current policy?
- Health benefits will be covered through the end of the month only.
If an employee gets placed on administrative leave, can they choose to retire while on leave?
- Yes, retirement or resignation are options for employees.
Can employees use accrued paid sick/vacation time first if placed on unpaid leave?
- Yes, employees may use any accrued sick and vacation leave to remain on paid status prior to beginning an unpaid leave.
If an employee is placed on administrative leave, do they lose that time towards retirement credit or does it still count?
- All unpaid leave will not count towards retirement service credit.
Who has access to the medical information regarding staff’s vaccination status, whether partial, unvaccinated, or declining to state?
- The only District employees with access to personnel documents are the principal's secretaries at each site and the Human Resources Department, all of which are confidential employees that deal with both student and staff records.
How many people at the District and/or school site are privy to that information and legally able to see the names?
- The only people that are able to see names are the principals’ secretaries and the Human Resources Department.
How is the district ensuring that vaccination information is kept confidential?
- We are only recording the information needed to report to LACDPH (date of vaccinations and type)
What are the repercussions if a person privy to the vaccination information discloses it to someone who should not have access to it?
- The District will investigate and take any and all necessary action based on the District’s review.
Will the staff member whose information has been jeopardized be notified?
- If a breach of confidentiality is found we will immediately report information to the individual.
Who will have access to see the names of staff members who are filing for exemptions?
- All exemption requests will go through the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent for HR.
Will the names of employees filing exemptions be redacted, to provide anonymity from certain decision makers reviewing the exemptions? Or will every decision maker regarding exemptions see the names of the employees requesting them?
- If additional staffing is necessary to review exemptions, all names will be redacted to provide anonymity.
How will the district protect the privacy of the information staff members share in their exemption requests?
- Exemption requests will have names redacted if additional staff members are reviewing the information.
Who will decide whether an exemption gets approved or denied?
- The Superintendent and/or Assistant Superintendent of HR.
What would the district consider grounds for denying an exemption?
- Examples for denying an exemption can be: not submitting all required documentation, forging documentation or falsifying documentation, or other objective basis to believe the employee does not have a qualifying medical condition or religious belief.
What accommodations are being considered for employees with approved exemptions? Weekly testing? Alternate work assignments or locations? Other?
- If granted, accommodations will be made after reviewing the medical or personal belief request, on an individualized, case by case basis.
Will weekly testing be required as part of an accommodation?
- Yes, unvaccinated employees and volunteers with an approved accommodation are required to participate in a weekly testing program.
Can a person apply for both a medical and religious exemption? Or should they only turn in one?
- This will depend on each employee and whether they believe they qualify under one or both possible on basis of an exemption. Before making a final determination, the District will review each and every request and engage with any employee, as needed.
Will one type of exemption have prevalence or be considered more legitimate than the other?
- No, the District does not have a policy or practice of categorically favoring one type of exemption request over another.
How should we submit the exemptions? Do you want us to drop off a hard copy at the district, email it to you, or both?
- The exemption request forms have been updated to reflect the following:
- Upon completion of all documents, please return to:
El Monte Union High School District
Human Resources Department attn: Robin Torres
3537 Johnson Avenue
El Monte, CA 91731
Or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
What are the district's requirements, guidelines, rules and procedures for granting a religious exemption? Or denying an exemption? What is the criteria the district will be using?
- The District will comply with and be guided by the applicable federal and state law when reviewing and assessing requests for exemptions on the basis of a religious belief, practice, or observance. At this time, the District is requesting that employees who believe they are entitled to such exemptions submit the proper request and/or request forms, as instructed. Please contact Christine Mota at extension 9814 should you need assistance in obtaining or submitting such requests or forms. In the event the District wishes to meet with or otherwise obtain additional relevant information to review and assess a particular employee’s request, the District shall notify the employee in that regard.
Can the district provide a rubric for how sincerely held beliefs will be objectively analyzed or validated?
- The District does not utilize a set rubric to analyze or score any individual’s belief, practice, or observance but will comply with and be guided by the applicable federal and state law when reviewing and assessing these requests. Please be assured that each exemption request and related material information will be reviewed fairly and objectively on an individualized, case-by-case basis, to determine whether an employee is entitled to an exemption/accommodation under the law.
After the process is completed, will the district provide data showing the rate of exemptions accepted or denied? And the types of accommodations that were granted?
- The District does not currently intend to generate or disseminate any such data showing the acceptance or denial rate of exemptions or types of accommodations granted, unless otherwise required by law. Notwithstanding the District’s decisions as to other exemption requests, the District is committed to engaging in good faith with each employee, separately and on an individual basis, who properly submits the required information and/or documentation.