In a six to three ruling, the Supreme Court has stopped President Joe Biden’s administration from enforcing businesses with 100 or more employees to require their staff members to either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or take a weekly test and wear a mask.
”Although Congress has indisputably YUgiven Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly,” stated the majority in an unsigned opinion. “Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category.”
Some of those 84 million Americans who would have been affected by the now blocked policy are staff members in the Fergus Falls Public School District. The school board passed a motion on Jan. 10, implementing a policy that followed the vaccination and testing requirements brought forth by the Biden administration, which would have been enforced by OSHA.
”Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling regarding the OSHA-ETS means that (the policy) will no longer be applicable to the Fergus Falls Public School District,” said Superintendent Jeff Drake.
In contrast, the court also ruled to uphold a mandate that requires all healthcare workers at facilities that accept Medicare and Medicaid to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This mandate will apply to nearly all healthcare workers in the country, including the staff at Lake Region Healthcare (LRH).
“LRH developed a policy to comply with the federal rules early on, operating off the premise that the courts would allow the mandate to go through,” said LRH Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kent Mattson. “We have been communicating regularly with our team about the timelines and requirements. We’re working with all staff to obtain their required proof of vaccination or filing of an exemption based on medical or religious exemptions that are allowed for in the regulations by the federal deadlines.”
He also explained that staff members who work remotely full time are exempt from the mandate. He is confident that all staff will either be vaccinated or awarded exemptions within the appropriate timelines.
“Regardless of the mandate, for the past 24 months we’ve been implementing procedures for the safety of our staff and community and encouraging vaccination as one of those measures,” he shared. “The health and safety of our staff and our community continues to be our highest priority.”