Tulsa Transit is studying a policy to encourage employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
General Manager Ted Rieck told the transit board of trustees on Tuesday they’ve hit a plateau at around 50% vaccinated.
"In order to protect the employees as well as the riders, we want to get to a higher percentage compliance. So, we are going to study — we're certainly not ready to make a decision yet — whether to require either a vaccination or weekly testing of employees," Rieck said.
Tulsa Transit has hosted COVID vaccination clinics at its offices and offered gift cards to employees as incentives to get the shots.
Rieck told the board he thinks people would rather get vaccinated than deal with weekly testing. He also reported there’s recently been an increase in absenteeism at Tulsa Transit, including seven employees who currently have COVID. Most of them appear to have gotten it from their children.
"If the virus continues to surge and our people are not properly protected — we're already operating at a lower level. It may further jeopardize our service levels, and we don't want to take that chance," Rieck said.
A policy proposal could come to the board next month.
Tulsa Transit has installed Plexiglass shields around drivers’s seats, disinfects high-touch surfaces daily and deep cleans buses on a regular basis. Federal law requires drivers and passengers wear masks while on board buses, and Tulsa Transit could reinstitute a social distancing requirement used earlier in the pandemic.