MADISON (WKOW) -- The Madison School Board of Education voted in favor Monday of implementing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all school staff.
Under the plan, all district employees will have to show they have received the COVID-19 vaccine by November 1.
"I just want to thank everyone who worked on this and there are a lot of people who did," Board Member Nick Vander Meulen said after the vote. "Because this is really an important strategy along with all of our others, but this is a major game changer and I just thank everyone on that."
Employees will have the option to file religious or medical exemptions. However, those who are exempt will have to get tested COVID-19 twice a week.
Employees who choose to ignore the vaccination policy would be placed on unpaid leave before facing termination.
According to a slideshow posted online by MMSD, all new employees must also provide proof of at least one dose before starting work in the district and follow the timeline.
Any parents or volunteers working in the district will be required to present proof of vaccination as well.
People not following proper procedures may be placed on unpaid leave beginning November 15, and may face termination beginning December 20.
MMSD mother-of-four LeeAnn Ziegler said she supported the board's decision.
"To also know that the other staff in the school, you know the aids and librarians and all the other people — just to have that confidence that everyone around them has that protection. It'll be a comfort," Ziegler said.
Officials expect the website for employees to upload proof of vaccination will be operational next week.
Ziegler says November 1 can't come soon enough.
"I really appreciate the people who are putting public health first," Ziegler said. "It's a very admirable thing."