DECATUR, Ga. (CBS46) – A metro Atlanta school district will soon require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

City Schools of Decatur leaders announced Tuesday night employees have until the end of the October to get vaccinated or file an exemption.

Gov. Brian Kemp issued the following statement: “This clearly violates my executive order banning vaccine mandates by public entities.”

RELATED STORY: City of Decatur schools to require staff COVID-19 vaccinations 

His office referenced an executive order he issued in May regarding prohibition of COVID-19 vaccine passports.

Educator associations are also reacting to the mandate.

“We do understand that this is part of the CDC guidance for preventing COVID-19 and reducing the spread,” said Lisa Morgan, president of the Georgia Association of Educators.

“This first month of school has shown us that we have to implement the recommended strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our schools,” she said, adding that just as teachers ask parents to trust them with what’s best for their child’s education in the classroom, she believes the community needs to trust public health experts on what’s best to keep everyone safe during the pandemic.

She said she expects to see more district issue mandates or specific vaccination requirements.

Morgan said, “We want to be in the classroom with our children but it must be done safely and throughout our state, unfortunately, we have districts where that is not happening and where decisions are being made that are not following the expert guidance of the CDC for what we need to do to keep our children safe.”

The Professional Association of Georgia Educators also weighed in. Executive Director Craig Harper said in a statement, “PAGE encourages vaccination for all school employees on a voluntary basis rather than through mandates. Districts that issue mandates should do so only after securing broad employee support and including appropriate accommodations and alternatives through testing. Vaccine mandates will further hamper school operations in many districts if employees are required to be vaccinated or lose their jobs.”

Other metro Atlanta districts told CBS46 they have no plans of issuing vaccine mandates right now, but encourage eligible people to get the shot.

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