Houston ISD Board approves $500 stipend for employees vaccinated against COVID-19

The Houston Independent School District Board of Education on Thursday approved a stipend for employees who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The one-time $500 stipend will also need to be approved by the Texas Education Agency before the program can be implemented.

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"The best tool we have in this fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is vaccination," said Superintendent Millard House II. "As vaccinations increase in our communities and schools, the better protected and safe we all will be. The safety of our staff and students continues to be my guiding compass and I am grateful to the Board of Education for approving this stipend that will hopefully encourage more of our staff to be vaccinated."

The district says participation in the vaccine stipend program is voluntary.

According to HISD, employees who cannot receive the vaccine due to medical reasons are also eligible for the stipend but must submit the proper documentation.

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Once approved by TEA, employees will need to submit their proof of vaccination to Health and Medical Services by Nov. 19, 2021, to receive the stipend.

The stipend is being paid out through the district ESSER funds, the district says.

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HISD says trustees also approved up to 10 days of paid COVID-19 leave for the 2021-2022 school year for employees who are fully vaccinated, who are medically unable to get vaccinated, or those who meet religious exemptions.

The district says employees who are not vaccinated must use their personal leave to isolate due to COVID-19.

Employees will need to submit proof of vaccination or medical exemption to qualify. Religious exceptions must be requested through HISD’s religious accommodation committee.