The Homewood Public Library board of trustees reviewed COVID-19 protocols currently in place and the possibility of requiring all employees to be vaccinated.
“I don’t know. It’s a slippery slope,” Colleen Waltman, library director, told trustees at the Aug. 18 meeting.
Board members expressed concern about implementing a vaccine requirement before other businesses and institutions had one. Additionally, they decided to wait for the Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of a vaccine.
Since the board meeting, the FDA gave full approval of the Pfizer vaccine for individuals 16 years and older. Additionally, the FDA approved emergency vaccines for 12- to 15-year-olds.
On Thursday, Aug. 26, Gov. J.B Pritzker announced that health care workers, teachers and college students in Illinois must be vaccinated or take weekly COVID-19 tests.
“When the library re-opened after being closed because of COVID, masks were required. We posted signage allowing patrons who were fully vaccinated to not wear their masks. And we also allowed staff who were fully vaccinated to not wear their masks,” said Waltman. “During that period of time, we asked the staff who were wanting to not wear their mask to give us proof that they were fully vaccinated.”
Waltman said 24 employees provided vaccination cards and 19 didn’t. Waltman said this doesn’t necessarily mean 19 library employees aren’t vaccinated. She said it’s likely some of these 19 employees planned on continuing to wear masks, so they didn’t feel the need to prove their vaccination status at the time. Waltman said there’s no way of knowing for sure how many employees are vaccinated or unvaccinated now.
Since the collecting of vaccination cards, masks became required for all library employees and patrons, regardless of vaccination status. This was following the governor’s August 3 mandate for all state employees to wear masks.
The board will decide at the Sept. 15 meeting whether to require library employees to be vaccinated, Waltman said.