Lawmakers representing Dane Co. urge MMSD to implement COVID-19 vaccine requirement

Wisconsin State Capitol Dome
Logan Rude for WISC-TV/

MADISON, Wis. — Hours after a union representing Madison’s teachers announced its support for a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for district staff, several state lawmakers representing Dane County issued a statement urging district leaders to require the vaccine.

In the letter, the lawmakers said the Madison Metropolitan School District should make the vaccine mandatory to protect students, many of whom aren’t yet eligible for vaccination.

“As responsible adults, we must do everything we can to protect the most vulnerable members of our society, including children too young to be vaccinated and the immunocompromised,” the statement reads. “It’s been encouraging to see that Madison Teachers Inc. and the NEA have come out so strongly in favor of making schools safer by requiring vaccination.”

The letter was signed by Sen. Kelda Roys, Sen. Melissa Agard, Rep. Francesca Hong, Rep. Lisa Subeck, Rep. Jimmy Anderson, Rep. Sondy Pope, Rep. Dianne Hesselbein, and Rep. Samba Baldeh.

RELATED: From request to requirement: How soon MMSD could mandate all teachers receive the COVID-19 vaccine

Calls from the state legislators were the latest in a recent push for the district to require staff to get vaccinated. Earlier on Monday, Madison Teachers Inc., the union that represents the district’s teachers, said its members “overwhelmingly agree” on the need for a vaccine requirement. Last week, district Superintendent Dr. Carlton Jenkins said he supports the mandate.

“Let me say this: I don’t do this lightly because I’m not one who would just make mandates,” Dr. Jenkins said. “We have, as a group — and that’s why you see all of us here together — we’ve studied this and we know the best path forward for our students, for our staff, and for our community is to take the highest level of safety serious[ly]. And that’s what we’ve done.”

MMSD’s Board of Education plans to convene virtually Monday night to discuss implementing the requirement. A vote on the matter would likely come in late September. If passed, MMSD would be the first district in Wisconsin to require vaccinations for teachers.