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CEAI Guidance: In-Person Schooling During COVID-19

By December 17, 2020August 13th, 2021What's New
COVID Resource

CEAI Guidance: In-Person Schooling During COVID-19

This season of battling COVID while attempting to provide a meaningful education has certainly been a challenge. Many of our members have contacted us with questions that school employees have never had to face before: In order to physically open schools, can a school district mandate precautions like face masks or daily temperature checks? Can I be required to submit to COVID-19 testing, or a vaccination?

Since we have never faced these issues before, we receive very little guidance from past court rulings or the experiences of those who refused to submit to these mandates. However, after consulting with others, including experienced educators and attorneys, we believe districts can require measures like these during this crisis as health departments require schools to protect students and staff as well as the broader community.

We believe the only potential alternatives to compliance with these mandates are as follows:

1

Medical accommodations: If a doctor verifies that a medical situation cannot allow such a mandate (such as wearing a face mask), the district must accommodate in some manner if possible.

2

Religious accommodations: If a person has a sincerely held religious belief that forbids them to follow such a mandate, the district must accommodate in some manner if possible.

We will certainly assist our members in requesting these accommodations. However, if a member refuses to submit to a district’s mandate without properly invoking one of the above-mentioned accommodations, we are not confident of a positive result in a job action, despite the fact that we will certainly defend our member. 

While we do anticipate legal battles, the more critical battle in this unusual season is spiritual. We at CEAI encourage you in this season to embrace a strong faith in our God whose perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). Romans 8:28 reminds us that God is working all things to our good, even COVID, if we love Him and are called according to His purpose. 

Remember that it is not so much that circumstances are coming against you; rather, as ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20) you are released by God into circumstances to bring His love and transformation. God is with you.

Should you need counsel or prayer during these times, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are praying for you.

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19 Comments

  • Gaetano Corrado says:

    How does someone use religious beliefs to exempt themselves from getting a required vaccination? Would the person have to articulate how the vaccine violates religious belief or simply say that it does?

    • David Schmus says:

      We have some sample language from Liberty Counsel you can use, but at this point we don’t believe any vaccines are being made mandatory. To get more info, reach out to us at service@ceai.org. (Sorry for the delay in response.)

      • Gretchen Pressman says:

        On Friday, October 1, the California Gov. mandated the vaccine for K-12 teachers.

  • Kellie McGinn says:

    My question is specific to being required to take an “experimental vaccine”. In my 30 years of CA public school teaching, I have NEVER been asked or required to show proof of any vaccinations. How on earth can they legally require you take the “vax” when past practice has never required it? I am deathly allergic to the flu vax (almost died) and and will probably be able to get a medical exemption to it if it comes down to it. However, my question is why should I have to? Is it even legal to require compliance on an experimental vax that isn’t FDA approved and manufactures are free from liability? I have a 50% chance of dying from this. I completely understand that masks and social distancing and even testing can be required but the vax? Thoughts??

    • David Schmus says:

      At this point, it is very unlikely that you would be required to take the vaccine, and given your health history, a medical accommodation would be a strong possibility.

  • Neil Konitshek says:

    Please keep us posted on any potential Covid-19 vaccination mandates. I foresee this becoming a significant issue in the near future with Christian Educators as there are health and or moral concerns.

  • Kathleen Myers says:

    Thank you for all you are doing to support and keep our focus in the right place. God is using you.

  • Jane Culmer says:

    I would like information on how to legally exempt myself from the mask and the experimental shot.
    Thanks!

    • David Schmus says:

      To exempt yourself from a mask requirement, you would likely need a medical condition. See your doctor about getting a medical accommodation. As of now, the vaccines are voluntary. If you need more information, reach out to us at service@ceai.org.

  • Kaitlin Libby says:

    I would also like some information on how to get around a vaccine mandate. It’s experimental and not something I want right now. Can the school force me to take it? I already teach in person and online simultaneously while wearing a mask all day. I’ve followed the guidelines for masks and social distancing but I am not getting an experimental vaccine that has not been tested long-term.

    • CEAI says:

      Kaitlin, Your concerns about the vaccine mandate are shared by a number of CEAI members that have contacted us during the past year. Please take a moment to read our previous guidance at https://www.ceai.org/2020/12/ceai-guidance-in-person-schooling-during-covid-19/. If you have any further questions, you may contact us at info@ceai.org or 1-888-798-1124 Monday through Friday 8:30-7:30 EST.

    • Kim Potter says:

      Looks like Inslee, governor for Washington state is making a mandate for all state employees. Ferndale School District superintendent just sent a letter stating that all employees will need to be vaccinated if Inslee follows through with state mandate. We should know within the week. Can they really make vaccinations mandatory?

  • David Schmus says:

    Given legal issues districts would face regarding the current vaccines, which are only authorized for emergency use, we don’t believe it is likely for any district to require them in the near future. Requiring masks or shields is typically mandated by states or county health depts, and districts typically have to comply legally.

  • Courtney Rice says:

    I would like to know how to be exempted from Covid testing. I don’t feel safe with information I’ve read concerning nanotech on the swab that is harmful as well as DNA collection from test for privacy reasons.

  • I’m so glad I joined the CEAI. I am planning to send the letter prepared by America’s Frontline Doctors https://www.americasfrontlinedoctors.org/legal to my school.
    I will continue to wear the mask at school, but I wonder if the religious objection would be that masks are a form of lying. We are lying to our kids telling them to wear masks. It’s against my religion to lie. It is a form of bearing false witness. I actually feel guilty wearing these things because it makes kids believe the lie. And the lie includes the whole Wuhan virus conspiracy.
    That link above also has a letter pertaining to the shots and why we should not be forced to get them. That one is worth sending to your district too.
    Here’s my personal belief and I hope I’m wrong: I believe that the law will soon have no bearing. The government will force this on everyone. Right now they are okay with us not getting the shot, but now that the supply is ready to exceed demand the pressure will ramp up. Perhaps we can make it until the summer, but next school year will be different. As we saw with the election and as we witness daily intensifying censorship, the rule of law is no longer the rule of the land. We must prepare to be fired. Pray hard. Trust in Jesus, who has always been our only hope anyway.

  • Sarah says:

    I have read CEAI’s guidance statement. I got a medical mask exemption from AFLD while they were still doing them. Could you please post a letter for CEAI members to share with our public school districts claiming Religious accommodations to not get the vaccine? It would help those of us in Blue states.
    The ALFD letter is well-written, I shared it with my district.

  • Colin says:

    I’m a student just finishing a teacher license program and will be doing demonstration teaching this fall. Should I let my college program contacts, such as the placement coordinator or my program mentor, know that I won’t take the vaccine for religious reasons? If it doesn’t come up during a placement interview with the principal at any school for DT, should I bring it up?

  • Gayle W says:

    My school district is strongly encouraging employees to get the vaccine. (They are not mandating yet, only strongly encouraging.) As such, employees have no religous or medical exemption options at this time. BUT employees who choose not to get the vaccine are to submit themselves to DAILY Covid testing. This is harsh and unnecessary treatment meant to bully employees into getting the vaccine “voluntarily”. Is there any recourse at this time?