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Rochester Public Schools shares district vaccinations status

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- On Tuesday, Rochester Public Schools released its new district-wide vaccination status during the School Board meeting.

The data is provided by the Minnesota Immunization Information Collection (MIIC).

The stats show that the overall rate for students eligible for the vaccine is:

  • 58% with one dose
  • 53% with 2 doses

Staff vaccination rates are:

  • 90% with 1 dose
  • 88% with 2 doses

"What this does is it gives us a reason to talk to students about vaccinations and a way to know where to focus," said Interim Superintendent, Kent Pekel. "Their parent also needs to be a focus of discussion, because obviously, they're still a minor and would need parent approval to get that vaccine."

He said if Pfizer's vaccine is FDA approved for children and the RPS vaccination rates increase then his approach to COVID-19 policies could change.

"I think the best chance we have to get these masks off the faces of our students and teachers, to stop needing to socially distance in our classes is to get everyone vaccinated. I think the data that we got today gives us a lot more specificity to how we can start laying the groundwork for that point I don't know when it will come... for when we can start to back off these mitigation strategies that we're using," Pekel said.

On Monday, the Mason City Iowa Community School Board decided to only mandate school masking when the illness rate in a school building is at 7% or higher. Furthermore, the mandate will be removed when the illness rate falls below 5%.

We asked Pekel if he would consider a policy like that.

"We're looking at everything, and those school districts that are trying different approaches from us, we're watching them and learning. A lot of people are watching us and learning from us. So I would say, never say never. The idea of a trigger or a threshold might be something that we would look at. It might be more likely for a trigger for quarantine than it would for a trigger for masks," he said.

On Thursday, RPS will release a vaccination breakdown by building, department, and program.

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KaMaria Braye

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