When he arrived at school Monday, he said Principal Joseph Corso called him down to his office and put him on a call with Francis Thompson, assistant superintendent for personnel, “who let me know that per the executive order, they had to send me home.” Outlaw said he is on unpaid administrative leave.
Gov. Ned Lamont issued an executive order Sept. 10 mandating all state employees and school and childcare staff must have received at least one vaccine dose by Monday or be tested weekly.
Wallingford Superintendent of Schools Danielle Bellizzi did not comment on Outlaw.
But she issued a statement, which said, “While I cannot comment on the specifics of any personnel matter, I did want to share that Wallingford Public Schools is adhering to the guidelines set forth in Executive Order 13G. … This order sets forth the form and manner in which the state, state hospitals, school boards, and child care facilities must maintain the individual’s documentation of vaccination or exemptions and must verify compliance with the testing requirements for unvaccinated individuals.”
Bellizzi added that the executive order “states that non-compliant employees ‘shall not be allowed on the premises’ of the school district. It further states that any school district ‘shall be in violation of this order when it permits a covered worker who has not complied with this order to be in a public or private pre-K through grade 12 school or a child care facility, to make regular or frequent visits to any such school or child care facility, or to have regular or frequent contact with children in child care, students, or staff.’”
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It was not clear Monday how many teachers in Connecticut are on leave due to the requirements of Lamont’s executive order.
Max Reiss, Lamont’s spokesman, said in an email, “Gov. Lamont has been focused on taking all necessary measures to ensure the school year continue uninterrupted, as we do not want to see a repeat of lost time in the classroom. The more people who are vaccinated, the safer all students, staff, and faculty are inside the school building. The vaccine requirement for educators is especially important for those who work with children under the age of 12, who are not yet eligible to receive one of the vaccines.” He added that employment issues are between the school and the employee.
Outlaw said that, because his lifestyle does not allow for injections, he requested a religious exemption from the vaccine and said he was granted temporary approval. But his request for an exemption from testing was not, he said.
“The mandate on the school’s end was we had to be tested by yesterday at 5 p.m.,” Outlaw said. He said he views testing “as an unnecessary medical procedure as well.” He said he asked to be screened rather than tested, being asked questions such as whether he had symptoms or had been near someone who was positive for COVID.
“If I was worried about my health, I would do what I need to do. If it was testing on my own volition that would be one thing. It just seems a bit unreasonable,” Outlaw said.aside">