Beaufort County Schools board votes to provide incentive to teachers who have COVID-19 vaccine

School Watch

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) — Beaufort County Schools is now giving a $250 incentive to any faculty or staff member who is COVID-19 vaccinated. The board voted unanimously to approve this at their Board of Education meeting Tuesday night.

Employees who aren’t vaccinated yet can also get the bonus if they get their doses by June 30, 2022.

The idea was brought to the school board by Beaufort County Superintendent Matthew Cheeseman.

“You have the money, and in my opinion, it is a very intentional way of using it,” Cheeseman said.

The money will come from COVID relief funds the school system received.

“In Beaufort County Schools, at $250 a person, if 100% of employees are vaccinated, you’re looking at approximately a quarter of a million dollars,” Cheeseman said. “That’s a lot of money, but we also received nearly $30 million of ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund) funding. So this is something that would go right back to our employees and give it right back to the people.”

Cheeseman says the vaccine is the best way to stay in the classroom.

“If you look at the North Carolina Strong Schools toolkit, the number one thing that allows a student or employee to stay in the building is a vaccination,” he said.

While the vaccine is not mandatory for employees, he hopes this will be an incentive.

“We just want to make sure that kids have a great opportunity inside the school,” said Cheeseman. “Nothing beats a live teacher, nothing beats an educator in front of students and nothing beats that face-to-face instruction. This is another opportunity to have face-to-face instruction.”

Cheeseman says nearly 60 percent of employees are already vaccinated. Those employees will see this extra money in their paychecks as early as December.

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