The Iowa Department of Human Services is considering policies to try to get more employees at its six facilities to take the Covid-19 vaccine.
The agency manages facilities for juvenile delinquents and patients who are mentally ill or profoundly disabled. More than a third of the people who work at those facilities have declined vaccinations. Department spokesman Matt Highland said one policy under consideration would require unvaccinated employees to use vacation time to quarantine if they test positive for Covid or are exposed to the virus.
“Wanting to use those tools to prevent the spread, we’re going to start adjusting policies like that to really help to incentivize our team members to get the vaccinations,” Highland said. “It’s the right thing to do.”
Highland made his comments at the monthly meeting of the Human Services Council. The Department of Human Services manages the state Mental Health Institutes in Cherokee and Independence and the Resource Centers in Glenwood and Woodward for patients with mental and physical disabilities. The agency also oversees the State Training School in Eldora for juvenile delinquent boys and operates a unit in Independence where violent sexual predators are committed after their prison sentences have expired.
(By Iowa Public Radio’s Natalie Krebs)