COVID-19 vaccinations required for all BART workers by Dec. 13

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By mid-December, all BART workers and contractors are mandated to complete their vaccination doses or show proof of their full vaccination, as stated under a policy adopted by the agency’s board on Thursday.

Board of Directors Rebecca Saltzman, Lateefah Simon, Janice Li and Bevan Dufty have drafted the policy that will oblige all BART board members and employees for full vaccination by Dec. 13. The policy exempts those who have legalized medical and religious reasons.

Part of the vaccination policy agreed upon by the board directs BART General Manager Bob Powers to execute a full vaccination mandate for the contractors of the agency, as well as to deal with the labor unions in the agency to identify the management of employees who refuse to get their shots.

“By adopting this policy today, nobody is getting fired tomorrow,” Li said. “No one is being forced to get the vaccine, but this policy states that being vaccinated is a condition of employment.”

The policy was adopted by many board members with the safety of employees and riders in mind, especially the young ones who are aged below 12 who are not yet qualified to get vaccinated.

Board Director Mark Foley cited that 20 to 25 percent of the around 4, 000 employees are not yet vaccinated and can cause more virus outbreaks and service delays.

The board director said he is very concerned about those who deny vaccinations, saying that he himself has turned down vaccines “more than a decade” following the diagnosis of his then 1-year-old kid with autism.

But he said on Thursday that he and his child are now vaccinated. When his daughter entered high school, she got scheduled vaccinations as Foley said he “allowed science to lead.”

“I can see where people come from,” he said, as reported by KRON4. “I understand. Coming from that perspective, I had doubts, I had concerns. But I also allowed myself to be guided by experts. And I was not the expert, Google was not the expert, fake news was not the expert.”

The option for regular testing for those who refuse vaccinations was not included in the policy approved Thursday.