AUGUSTA, Maine — Editor's note: The above video aired Sept. 10, 2021.
More than 75% of school staff in Maine are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data released Wednesday.
The new dashboard provides COVID-19 vaccination rates for staff of public schools (including charter, magnet, town academies and career/technical schools) and private schools providing instruction to students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12.
The dashboard shows the percentage of school and central operations staff who are fully vaccinated, as reported by each school entity.
“More than three-quarters of Maine school staff have taken a vital step to protect themselves and the health of our children and communities by getting vaccinated against COVID-19,” DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said in a press release Wednesday. “By publishing these vaccination rates each month, we hope to boost school staff vaccination even further, curb the spread of COVID-19, and equip school leaders with information to make the best decisions for their communities.”
This information is updated monthly by the middle of each month with staff vaccination data as of the last day of the previous month.
Multiple schools report 100% vaccination. Some schools did not submit information.
Names of individuals are not released.
Pursuant to DHHS rule (10-144 ch. 258 § 2(C)(4)), DHHS has the authority to request this data. If DHHS or DOE does not receive the data, "we will be forced to notify the Attorney General’s Office and pursue the enforcement actions authorized pursuant to 22 M.R.S. § 804(2)."
The definition of school “staff” for the purposes of vaccination reporting is all those providing instruction, services, or interacting with students in prekindergarten through grade 12, including all full and part-time employees, and temporary or contracted personnel.
“Our school employees continue to face the challenges created by this ongoing pandemic with professionalism and grace, and I am pleased that so many have opted to keep themselves and their school communities safe by getting vaccinated,” Commissioner of Education Pender Makin said in a press release Wednesday. “I hope that by their example, others will be inspired to help protect the health and in-person learning of our students by reducing community transmission and getting vaccinated.”
"We encourage schools to use a de-identified survey to collect vaccination status. Those staff that do not respond to the survey need to be included as “unknown” vaccination status in the form. For reporting purposes, staff with unknown vaccination status will not be included in the numerator (fully vaccinated) but will still be included in the denominator (total staff)," the DOE wrote in a FAQ section about the data collection.