Gov. Lamont announces vaccine mandates with testing options for all state employees, K-12 teachers and staff

Coronavirus

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Governor Ned Lamont announced vaccine mandates for all state employees on Thursday during his COVID-19 briefing.

For the first time since May, Lamont held a press briefing regarding the state’s coronavirus response efforts.

He announced new COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Any state hospital worker and anyone who works in a nursing home has to get at least one dose of the COVID vaccine next month. If they don’t get the shot, they will lose their jobs. There are exemptions on medical and religious grounds. As for the rest of state employees, all pre-K through 12th-grade teachers, and early childhood workers, have the option of the vaccine or weekly testing.

Gov. Lamont issued Executive Order No. 13G on Sept. 10, clarifying that hospital and long-term care employees include any person who is employed by or provides any services in the following facilities:

  • Albert J. Solnit Center South
  • Whiting Forensic Hospital
  • John Dempsey Hospital
  • Connecticut Valley Hospital
  • Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services facilities

The order applies to all state employees and contract workers who regularly visit these hospitals or long-term care facilities as defined in Executive Order No. 13F.

The new order also clarifies contractors’ obligations to verify the vaccination and testing status of workers that they provide to state agencies, school boards or childcare facilities.

Gov. Lamont said, “This is what we’re following the lead of other companies around our state and I think other companies around the state are going to now follow our lead. I want CT to take the lead in terms of employees getting vaccinated.”

Connecticut Education Association (CEA) President Kate Dias issued the following statement Thursday after his announcement:

We appreciate the governor’s effort to ensure the safety of all by having as many vaccinated people in our schools as possible. In traveling to school districts and listening to local teachers, we’ve heard concerns from many who favor a vaccine mandate, and others who want the ability for monitored exceptions. Governor Lamont’s order — which says that anyone choosing not to get vaccinated must be tested each week — is a reasonable accommodation and should result in greater safety and almost everyone being vaccinated. We want to ensure that the state assists school districts in providing the time and resources necessary to meet the vaccine mandate and testing requirements. That means a deadline that can be met by all districts, and the clinics and supplies necessary to get the job done. We cannot afford to risk staffing shortages that could cause shutdowns and disruption as the school year begins.

CEA President Kate Dias

So other than making sure there’s enough time and money to do it, Dias says the choice of a shot or a test is a “reasonable accommodation.”

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