Joplin school board offering incentive for employees to get vaccinated

JOPLIN, Mo. –At Tuesday’s Joplin school board meeting, although there were many items up for discussion, the two biggest items had to do with the safety of returning to school this upcoming fall.

 Now, Joplin school students will be required to mask on school busses regardless of their vaccination status.

“The CDC has issued an order that all public transportation will fully mask covering mouth and nose regardless of vaccination status, so an order is different from a guidance in it carries the force of law, it is not used frequently but when it is used then the district has made the decision that we will follow the order,” said Joplin Schools Superintendant Melinda Moss.

The biggest discussion of the night, and the one that gathered a lot of attention from the board, had to do with an incentive program aimed at getting more Joplin school staff vaccinated.

“The state of Missouri, Missouri southern, our own city, are some examples of entities that have already decided to incentivize the vaccine…within our county, we’re below the state average in terms of vaccination, and we are very interested in making sure that our staff and students are as safe as possible,” Moss said.

Originally, substitute teachers were included in the pool to win $2,500 but the school board decided to have them involved in the $25 offer only.

“The incentive is twenty-five dollars per employee and also twenty-five dollars for people that are in our substitute pool. And then a further incentive for our employees but would not be available to our substitute pool is also the opportunity at four, twenty-five hundred dollar payments,” which the school superintendent hopes can keep everyone healthy enough to keep in-person learning available.

“But hopefully this will incentivize even more to do so and help us keep school open.”

On August 6th, the school district will host a health fair where the Joplin Health Department will administer vaccines. There will also be another chance to get vaccinated on August 18th, at Joplin High School’s open house.