The City of Alexandria and Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) are joining together to implement a COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirement for all City government and ACPS school staff. During the current surge of COVID-19 cases, this joint action is a necessary added measure to prevent further spread of the virus in Alexandria and the region, and is consistent with guidance from the Alexandria Health Department (AHD).
Due to the increase in COVID-19 positive cases in the region caused by the highly contagious delta variant, Alexandria entered the category of high community transmission this week. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Virginia Department of Health, COVID-19 vaccination continues to be the most effective way to significantly reduce the risk of spread, serious illness, hospitalization and death.
“Over the past month and a half, Alexandria has seen a steady increase in positive cases and has entered the category of high community transmission for the first time since mid-April. We have to take every action available to provide safe public facilities to residents, reduce transmission, and prevent exposure to the virus and more of the impacts we have already experienced,” said City Manager Mark Jinks. “As major employers, the City and school division are in partnership to address this pandemic health situation. This new mitigation measure adds a layer of protection to the existing requirement for staff and visitors to wear masks inside City and ACPS facilities, regardless of vaccination status, as recommended by the CDC.”
City and ACPS employees will be required to submit vaccine documentation to their respective agencies. All employees who are unvaccinated or choose not to disclose their vaccination status will be required to be tested weekly for COVID-19 to limit the potential spread in the workforce and in the community. Testing will be available at no direct cost to employees. Details will be shared with City and ACPS staff in the coming week.
At its Special Called Board meeting on August 19, the School Board unanimously approved a recommendation by Superintendent Dr. Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr. to require all ACPS staff to participate in weekly COVID-19 testing or voluntarily report their completed vaccination status. “This is a vital tool to add to our current health and safety mitigation measures. It is a proactive step we can take to help reduce transmission of the virus in our school facilities and strengthen safety measures to protect our community as a whole,” said Alexandria City School Board Chair Meagan L. Alderton.
Alexandria’s overall vaccination rate for those 12 and older is currently 60.4%. COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, free and everyone ages 12 and older is urged to get vaccinated. AHD and its vaccinating partners are currently offering open vaccine scheduling and walk-in options.
Visit alexandriava.gov/Vaccines to find your shot today or for more information.