AUGUSTA, Maine — EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above is from Sept. 17, 2021.
More than 79% of school staff in Maine are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data released Wednesday, Oct. 20.
Data updated at the end of September showed 79.7% of school staff were vaccinated, an increase of about 4% since the end of August, officials said.
A state 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.
This information is updated by the middle of each month with staff vaccination data as of the last day of the previous month.
Names of individuals are not released.
"It was 75.6 % in the last recording period, so we are so encouraged by the progress that our school staff, our school leaders have made in vaccination," Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said Wednesday.
According to the updated data, Cumberland County now leads with 90.6% of school staff vaccinated, while Piscataquis County ranks last with 67.9% of school staff vaccinated.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The video below is from Sept. 15, 2021.
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 pre-kindergarten 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,” Maine Commissioner of Education Pender Makin told NEWS CENTER Maine in early September. “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.