MORGANTOWN — Education?
A sincere letter of request from the board of directors?
The Mountain Line Transit Board of Directors is looking into how it can convince employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Mountain Line CEO Dave Bruffy said 38%, or 27 of the transit authority’s 71 employees have yet to sit for a shot.
The discussion was part of the most recent meeting of the transit authority, during which the body voted to end hazard pay for employees at the end of the month.
Bruffy said the move is in line with transit systems across the state.
“At this point, if employees get vaccinated, there isn’t any real hazard for them, and they have the option to get vaccinated,” he said.
Board of Directors President Jenny Dinsmore asked if Mountain Line could offer incentives in an attempt to increase vaccine participation.
Bruffy said he had serious concerns about using funds for such a program, regardless of what is going on at the state level.
More likely, he said, would be a mandatory education session, potentially including representatives from the Monongalia County Health Department as well as testimonials from Mountain Line employees who have had COVID-19 and/or been vaccinated.
In the end, Dinsmore said, there really isn’t much Mountain Line can do if an employee chooses not to be vaccinated.
“It’s probably in line with what everybody in the state is facing anyway,” she said.
Morgantown Utility Board Spokesman Chris Dale said MUB currently has 113 of 145 employees vaccinated (80%) and is not offering any kind of incentive to bump that number up.
As for the city of Morgantown and Monongalia County, there is no hard data.
“City administration is asking employees to keep them informed if/when they get vaccinated, but employees are not required to do so,” Morgantown Communications Director Andrew Stacy said. “We have encouraged employees to get the vaccine, but ultimately it’s an employee’s choice to get it or not, and also their choice to provide the city with that information or not.”
Monongalia County Administrator Rennetta McClure said individual departments may have data on who is vaccinated, but that information is not being tracked by the commission.
“Regarding steps to get people vaccinated who haven’t chosen to already, we are having a policy drafted by our legal counsel that will “strongly recommend” vaccinations and begin making employees use their sick/annual leave if they have to quarantine due to COVID,” McClure explained. “The Commission is hoping that it will encourage people to go and get vaccinated.”