PPS board pushes back vote on student vaccine mandate

Multnomah County

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland Public Schools board pushed back a vote on a student vaccine mandate another two weeks.

Pushing the vote aims to give the board more time to receive comments from the community. Originally set to be voted on Tuesday, the school board will now wait until at least November 16 to decide whether or not they’ll require students 12 years and older to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

This extension does not have to do with the volatile meeting that took place Tuesday night, according to Michelle DePass, the chair of the PPS board. Tuesday’s meeting was interrupted by people not wearing masks in protest of the mandate — ultimately leading to the in-person affair concluding and the board going online to resume. 

Dozens of people packed the meeting room where officials were set to discuss the possible COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Angry PPS parents shouted at many in attendance who refused to wear masks, effectively shutting down an opportunity for in-person testimony.

“This was a really interesting theater,” said DePass. “It was expected; it’s not very effective.”

As far as the vote goes, DePass says the board needs more time to gather logistic information and written testimony.

“There are two sides or multiple sides to this issue,” DePass said. “We’re going to do what public safety and public health experts are advising us and we’re sticking to science and not politics.”

From the written testimony the board has seen so far, DePass says over 60% has been in favor of the mandate. The board will have another meeting next week, but DePass says the vote will not be on the already full agenda.

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