Natchez Adams School District board member proposes mandatory vaccination of district employees

Published 7:12 pm Thursday, July 29, 2021

NATCHEZ — Natchez Adams School District board member Phillip West said he proposed making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for all school district employees during a board meeting on Tuesday.

West contacted The Democrat Wednesday about his proposal.

The reason, he said, is because the rise in Delta variant cases throughout the state is “a public health issue that is becoming a public health crisis” and “It’s our duty and responsibility to make sure we protect our students and employees.”

Board member Dianne Bunch, Ph.D., Board President Amos James and Superintendent Fred Butcher refused to share their thoughts on making COVID vaccination mandatory for school district employees.

Butcher said the school district attorney Bruce Kuehnle is investigating the proposed policy.

“Our attorney is doing some investigative work so at this point I have no comments on it,” Butcher said.

Bunch also said, “I have no comment.”

James said he needed more time to consider the proposal.

“I have no thoughts on it at this point. It was just brought up and we haven’t really discussed it,” he said.

Board members Brenda Robinson, Ph.D., and Thelma Newsome have not responded to calls and emails requesting comments for this story.

However, West said he intends to bring the issue of mandatory vaccination up again at the next school board meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 3.

“It shouldn’t be delayed,” he said. “If it is going to be done, it should be done as soon as possible.”

With the new school year starting this week, West said the board has not yet discussed how long district employees would have to get vaccinated if the board decides to move forward with making it mandatory.

“All of that would have to be worked out,” he said.