ST. LOUIS ( -- Teachers and other staff in the St. Louis Public Schools have started receiving letters telling them they're being terminated for not complying with the district's vaccination mandate. The deadline to be vaccinated is Friday.

It's unclear how many employees are faced with losing their job. A special education teacher - who asked to remain anonymous - told us she'll lose her health insurance and her paycheck but is sticking with her decision to not be vaccinated.

"I have prayed about it. I have considered it. Even the looming reality of losing my job, I still haven't received any type of spiritual message saying 'hey, go ahead and get this vaccine,'" she said.

The teacher recently received a letter from the district's chief human resource officer, Charles K Burton, which read, "you are hereby placed on administrative leave with pay through Friday October 15th, 2021. You're employment with the St. Louis Public Schools will be terminated effective October 16, 2021, for violation of Board Policy. Thank you for your service. We wish you well in your future endeavors."

The American Federation of Teachers local union expressed its support for the mandate and even held a vaccine clinic to help teachers get the shot.

Superintendent Dr. Kelvin Adams reiterated the district's stance in a statement that reads, "The board passed the policy unanimously, mandating 100% vaccinations, and that's what we are going to do. We believe it's the right thing and the safe thing for both students and staff."

Currently the district is experiencing a shortage of teachers and other staff. A spokesman for the district confirms there's a shortage of nearly 120 teachers and openings for more than 120 non-certified staff.

Another district employee who spoke with News 4 said less qualified teacher assistants are being used to teach classes. Already hard to fill positions like special education teachers and nurses will be even harder to fill.

"And it hurts the children more than it hurts anything. We're here to serve the children," she said.

The district is expected to release the number of employees who were terminated on Friday.

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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