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Morgantown, MUB, Mountain Line weigh in on mandates

MORGANTOWN — Morgantown Communications Director Andrew Stacy said Thursday there is no plan to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for city employees.

That doesn’t necessarily mean one isn’t coming.

Stacy went on to say the city administration is watching how other government entities are handling the situation and awaiting guidance from Gov. Jim Justice before making a decision.

This a day after members of the Monongalia County Commission indicated the body is strongly considering requiring vaccines for the county’s 360 or so full- and part-time employees.

On Aug. 18, the commission instituted a policy that stipulated unvaccinated county  employees must use sick or annual leave, or otherwise go unpaid, if they must be off due to the virus. 

Stacy noted there is no formal policy in place for the city’s roughly 285 employees.

“We continue to encourage employees to get vaccinated and ask them to report it to human resources if they do,” Stacy said. “Currently, a little less than half of employees have reported getting the vaccine to human resources, but it’s important to remember that it is not mandatory for them to report it, so this number could be higher.”

The Morgantown Utility Board is taking a similar approach — encourage, but as of yet, don’t force.

“We do not mandate vaccines and at this time do not have plans to do so,” MUB Spokesman Chris Dale said. “However, we highly encourage staff to become vaccinated and all leadership staff have set the example by being vaccinated.”

Dale said roughly 80% of MUB’s 145 employees have received the vaccine. That’s the same percentage MUB reported in mid-June when The Dominion Post asked local agencies about the use of vaccine incentives.

As for Mountain Line Transit Authority, CEO Dave Bruffy said the issue will be addressed. 

“The board does have vaccination/testing requirements for employees on the agenda for the Sept. 8 meeting, so it possible they could take some action or establish a policy or requirement at that time,” Bruffy said.

Bruffy said establishing such a requirement means weighing the possible loss of drivers due to the mandate against the likelihood of time lost due to employees becoming ill or needing to quarantine — two scenarios that could ultimately result in a disruption of service.

According to Bruffy, 68.18% of Mountain Line’s 71 active employees are vaccinated. That number is up slightly, from 62% in mid-June.

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