*A new survey indicates that most firms are now planning on having COVID-19 vaccine mandates for their workforce.
Nearly 1,000 U.S. employers, employing almost 10 million workers, are requiring workers to get the shot, according to data released by Wednesday by Willis Towers Watson, a multinational advisory and insurance firm. That number of employers is expected to spike over the next several months.
More than half of employers surveyed between August 18 and 25 say that by the fourth quarter of 2021, they could have one or more vaccine mandate requirements in the workplace. This ranges from requiring vaccinations for employees to access common areas (such as cafeterias) to requiring the shot for specific employees to requiring it for all employees.
The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission said employers can legally require COVID-19 vaccines to re-enter a physical workplace as long as they follow requirements to find alternative arrangements for employees unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons or because they have religious objections.
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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC
As the 2021-22 school year begins, educators and advocates are sounding the alarm on the challenges faced by Black and Hispanic students, a specific group of students who were left behind during the pandemic. According to a Department of Education report released this summer, the pandemic further worsened disparities in access and opportunities for students of color in public schools.
“The pandemic has exacerbated preexisting inequities,” said Shavar Jeffries, president of advocacy group Education Reform Now. Advocates are calling on school districts to implement evidence-based interventions to address any learning loss that students of color experience.
In the midst of the pandemic, the switch to virtual schooling revealed gaps in internet and technology access, making it more difficult for certain students to access online classroom materials, homework or classes themselves. According to 2020 Census data, about 1 in 10 Black and Hispanic households lacked consistent computer access, compared to only 6.7% of White households.
The data also showed that Black households were twice as likely as White households to report inconsistent internet access, and Hispanic households were one-and-a-half times more likely than White households.