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MCCSC Requests COVID Relief Funds From The City For Vaccine Incentive Program

A photo of the sign outside MCCSC administrative offices.

(Ethan Burks, WFIU/WTIU News)

The Monroe County Community School Corporation is asking the City of Bloomington for some of its coronavirus relief money to launch a new vaccine incentive program.

READ MORE: City Council Introduces First Round Of American Rescue Plan Funds Totaling $3.35M 

Appropriation Ordinance 21-01 has already been introduced to the city council to use $3.35 million of American Rescue Plan funds for this year. The legislation also includes an additional $600,000 from the Indiana Finance Authority (IFA) Coronavirus Relief Fund. 

MCCSC is requesting $30,000 from the IFA allotment to start the program. Superintendent Jeff Hauswald explained some of the preliminary details in front of city council Wednesday night. 

"Our number one priority right now is increasing the rates of vaccination among our staff and student population. We know that it’s probably the singular most important step in helping to stop the spread," said Hauswald. 

Hauswald said the goal of the program is to get high school students excited enough to receive their COVID-19 shots. 

"We’re looking at a larger stipend as more of a drawing associated with scholarships and cars to incentivize something really unique that we haven’t heard about in Indiana," said Hauswald. "We see it as a very forward-thinking opportunity."

Earlier this week, the MCCSC Board of Trustees updated its COVID-19 guidelines that will closely follow updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – with slight modifications for vaccinated teachers.

READ MORE: MCCSC Updates COVID Protocols For Fall, Masks Still Required For Students

To encourage staff to get vaccinated, the school board approved a $1,000 vaccination stipend for "MCCSC qualified Board-approved employees" who are vaccinated against COVID-19 on or before Sept. 10.

When asked by city council whether MCCSC has considered mandating vaccines for all students and staff, Hauswald said that is still a legal issue. 

"Right now, we have not had a conversation about mandating vaccines because we are awaiting the final approval from the FDA and more legal understanding of what the options are," said Hauswald. "Students have a legal right to attend K-12 education."

Hauswald said specific prizes and how the drawings will work are still being discussed, but he hopes to have the details finalized within the next two weeks.

MCCSC's first day of school is Aug. 4.

The city council will have an opportunity to approve appropriation ordinance 21-01 sometime next month.  

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