A school that fired its unvaccinated staff returned to in-person classes after shutting down last week due to a COVID outbreak among its 100 percent vaccinated staff.
For many of the staff whose contracts were terminated in November 2021 because of not getting vaccinated, the incident demonstrates the impracticality of the mandates.
Socrates Academy, a kindergarten through 9th grade North Carolina public charter school, moved to remote instruction on Jan. 5, 7, and 10 because of COVID infection among the faculty.
Jill McKeand, an occupational therapist whose contract was terminated after 13 years of working at the school, was among those fired.
Technically, McKeand didn’t work for the school but for an agency that provides support services in schools. When McKeand’s contract was terminated with the school, the agency itself then terminated her employment.
McKeand told The Epoch Times that all exemptions were denied among the faculty members who were fired.
She estimated that number to be 18 within a staff of 100.
By North Carolina law, an independently operated charter school, which is still classified as a public school because it accepts tax dollars, has the same immunization requirements as traditional public schools, and therefore is also required to accept exemptions, according to McKeand.
When reached for a specific number on how many were fired and how many exemptions were denied, the academy said it couldn’t give out that information because of privacy concerns.
‘It Was an Ignorant Move’
News of the outbreak left McKeand with conflicting emotions, she said.
“I will always love Socrates Academy, but I’m sad for them,” she said. “I don’t want to sound terrible, but it was an ignorant move on their part to fire well-qualified staff, then still have an outbreak and have to go virtual.”
One of the arguments for vaccine mandates is that once one is vaccinated, that person can’t spread or be infected by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a narrative that has been touted by government officials and media.
However, reports such as one published by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms have countered those narratives as the empirical evidence supporting the counterargument has become widespread.
The report concluded that the vaccines “do not prevent the transmission” of the coronavirus, rebutting the claims of government leaders used to warrant mandatory vaccination efforts.
In addition to a global overestimation of the merits of the vaccine, adverse side effects ranging from heart inflammation to death have been ignored by the same government officials and media outlets, while early treatments such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin have been suppressed through hospital protocols and disinformation.
“Anybody who is watching what’s going on can see that the vaccine is not preventing the spread of the virus, so I’m not a bigger danger to anyone than a vaccinated person is because we can both spread the virus,” McKeand said.
McKeand became aware that vaccines could have harmful side effects when her daughter was hospitalized after having a severe reaction to the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTaP) vaccine.
Despite the experience, McKeand said she’s not anti-vaccine, but said it showed her that a blanket, one-size-fits-all vaccination effort is dangerous.
McKeand now works for the Union County public school district, which is one of the few public-school systems in North Carolina to have stood its ground on keeping masks optional despite legal threats from the state.
“I think they’ve done a really good job of handling the pandemic and making decisions that kept kids in school,” McKeand said.
‘They Jumped the Gun’
For McKeand, the incident at Socrates Academy speaks to a greater and more infectious crisis of fear that carries its own side effects.
Though she said she understands the academy’s fear and wants what is best for the school, the brief closure indicates a larger, global failure in policy.
“They fired us because they said we posed an increased risk, but facts are facts,” she said. “You can catch and spread it even if you are vaccinated, so they jumped the gun putting this mandate in place and lost some really wonderful people.”