Investigation: Most metro school districts not asking if teachers are vaccinated against COVID-19

ATLANTA — As students across metro Atlanta return to the classroom and to face-to-face learning, Channel 2 Action News has learned that most area school districts do not know if staff members are vaccinated.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray reached out to school districts across the metro asking how many of their teachers and staff are vaccinated.

He found most school districts could not answer that question.

Fulton County Schools is leading the way with an 81% vaccination rate.

Atlanta Public Schools has a 58% rate, and Cherokee said 57% of their staff scheduled vaccination appointments through them.

But when reaching out to metro Atlanta school districts, we found that the vast majority are not asking employees their vaccination status.

Cobb, DeKalb and Gwinnett are among the long list of districts that told us they do not track that data.

Hall, Forsyth, Clayton, Marietta City and Douglas counties also don’t ask employees about their vaccination status.

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Tamika Turnage is a DeKalb County teacher and parent who thinks that vaccination information should be private.

“I think that’s kind of a violation. Some people are religious, have reasons. It’s kind of a violation to say hey did you get the vaccine,” Turnage said

The chief talent officer at Fulton County Schools, Ron Wade, said they put an emphasis on providing education about the vaccine to employees, and they are proud of the 81% number.

“I think it’s important. I think it provides staff, parents and students a certain level of confidence that the people that we are working with their kids have taken it upon themselves to be as safe as possible,” Wade said.

Cobb County Schools told us in a statement: “We take medical privacy, including vaccine information, seriously as protected health information through HIPAA.”

Fulton County Schools says it takes privacy seriously too, and is limiting information about employees’ vaccinations to HR.

But Fulton says it is critical information to have when dealing with a possible exposure or outbreak.

“We’re not requiring or mandating employees go get vaccinated. All we are asking, is you report your status for if we are dealing with a positive COVID event,” Wade said.

Fulton also tells us they are not done. The school district is continuing to work to get the remaining teachers and staff vaccinated, but they are not requiring it.

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