The Evanston/Skokie School District Board of Education is scheduled to vote Monday night on requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for staff members, unless those employees receive an approved medical or religious exemption.

An item on the Board’s agenda says the mandate is needed “in support of keeping the District safe for staff, students, and visitors, and [for] minimizing staff and student absences.”

The proposal states that those requesting exemptions must provide documentation on medical necessity, or must show “a specifically held religious belief that prohibits vaccination.”

Employees approved for such exemptions would have to be tested for COVID at least once a week throughout the school year.

If an employee does not provide proof of vaccination or receive an approved exemption, that employee “will be deemed ineligible to work and will not be paid” until they provide documentation of full vaccination or exemption.

Such employees may also be “subject to disciplinary action.”

The resolution authorizes the superintendent to set dates and deadlines for the mandate and exemptions, and also says the superintendent will “engage in a discussion with the District’s employee representatives regarding the impact of the mandate.”

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.