Head Start vaccine mandate on hiatus; DPS moves special education services to Hagen building – The Dickinson Press

DICKINSON – On September 9, 2021, President Joe Biden introduced a new requirement for Head Start programs to support children’s health and safety, but a federal district judge quickly blocked the vaccine’s mandate with a preliminary injunction on January 1 following constitution challenges brought by North Dakota as well as 23 other states including: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska , Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.

The injunction also currently blocks the mandate requirement that Head Start students aged 2 or older wear masks indoors or in close contact with others.

According to the ruling, recipients of grants from Head Start, Early Head Start and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership in those 24 states are not required to comply with the interim final rule pending further developments in the litigation.

Before the injunction, at the December meeting of the Dickinson Public School Board, the topic was brought up and plans put forward that all Head Start staff, contractors and volunteers should be vaccinated against COVID-19 by now. January 31, 2022, in accordance with the mandate. Additionally, the board determined that universal masking for all persons 2 years of age and older would be a requirement.

In a statement to The Dickinson Press, DPS Superintendent Marcus Lewton reconsidered this requirement in light of the ongoing litigation over the matter, noting that “Dickinson Public Schools do not require any district staff to quit. ‘he receives the COVID-19 vaccine. This decision guarantees our employees the same choice and the same freedoms regardless of the building in which they work. “

Lewton added, “Our partnership with the Dickinson Early Childhood Head Start program has been an incredible collaboration of community service over the past 30 years. This transition will allow new flexibility for our staff and students and cost savings for our district. We look forward to continuing to find ways to collaborate with the Head Start program in the future. “

In other agenda items, the DPS board considered approval to go ahead with the transfer of children aged 3 to 5, who are receiving education services. special, towards the Hagen building – from 1 February.

Currently, these children are cared for by seven full-time DPS teachers at the Early Childhood Center (ECC) / Head Start in collaboration with the ECC, according to school documents. The move will affect around 75 students, Lewton noted, highlighting some additional CDC guidelines on quarantines.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed their guidelines for quarantine from 10 to five days depending on different scenarios – vaccinated versus unvaccinated,” Lewton said, adding that the school district had adopted those same guidelines and received from the North Dakota Department documentation. Health on how to follow this process.

Lewton stressed the importance of ensuring the continued safety of students attending public schools.

“We have an obligation to our students, and this decision ensures that our special education services will not be disrupted regardless of the outcome of the challenge of the federal immunization mandate,” Lewton said. “Moving the special education program to the Hagen building ensures that our classrooms will remain open and our staff can continue to provide services to our students despite their immunization status. “

In other school affairs, the DPS Board of Directors has approved the hiring of up to four additional certified positions as needed to meet the increased growth for the 2022-2023 school year. Lewton added that to stay ahead of the game, with an expected increase in the number of elementary school students, movement is needed.

The motion was introduced by Board member Michelle Orton, followed by a second by Vice President Kim Schwartz. In a recorded vote, the school board unanimously approved the 5-0 motion.

At a monthly meeting on Monday January 10, 2022, Dickinson Public School Board member Michelle Orton comments on the success of the Dickinson High School Academy exhibit that took place in December.

(Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

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