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Crook County Schools lose few staff to vaccine mandate, grant 116 religious, medical exceptions

(Update: Adding video, comments)

Nearly 340 staff provide proof of vaccination

PAULINA, Ore. (KTVZ) -- With only a week go go before Oregon's vaccination mandate deadline, school districts across the state are dealing with possible resignations by numerous staff members. But more than 100 Crook County Schools employees have received medical or religious exceptions, so they can continue to work without getting the vaccine.

As a result, district Communications Director Jason Carr said, the mandate's impact is minimal, with only eight resignations among a district staff of more than 500 employees. the school board was told Monday night as it met at Paulina Elementary School.

"A majority of our employees have chosen to get vaccinated or take medical exemptions or religious exceptions," Carr said. "At this point, we expect the impact on our school district to be minimal, and we’ve already been able to fill some of the positions that were left open."

As of Monday evening, 339 staff members had submitted vaccine documentation, 110 had taken religious exceptions, and six were given a medical exception.

Crook County Schools Director of Human Resources Sean Corrigan says staff members have found a way to keep things going.

"This is a great reflection of our staff," Corrigan said. "They're just all trying to find a way to make it happen."

Along with the medical and religious exceptions, Corrigan says they are still awaiting information from 30 staff members, 21 of whom are coaches.

The school board also listened during the public comment period to Jack Rabenburg of Oregon Parents' Rights in Education. The group has pushed back against mask and vaccination mandates in schools.

Rabenburg presented a petition calling on the school board to proclaim November as Parents' Rights in Education Month, and hopes the school board votes in favor.

He says the parent-child relationship should be supported by teachers, counselors, administrators, and school board members.

"All of the negative media that seems to be going around right now, with the National School Board Association and even our Oregon School Board Association, I thought this might be an opportunity for our school board to make a proclamation to the citizens of Prineville," Rabenburg said.

Rabenburg attached signatures of parents and citizens in support of the proclamation.

The school board says the earliest it can address the possible proclamation is in November, when they can also vote on it.

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Alec Nolan

Alec Nolan is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Alec here.



  1. If selling a wedding cake to a gay couple means a “christian” baker participated in their marriage, does selling a gun to a murderer mean a “christian” gun store owner participated in the murder?
    I love all you suddenly religious people who don’t know the Easter bunny from xmas season Walmart fist fights over cheap imported electronics. The Pope said to get the shot, but by all means don’t listen to him. Can we build a wall between Bend and prineville and make prineville pay for it?

    1. If you were smart, you’d realize that “religious exemption” doesn’t necessarily mean a religion like Christianity or even a known religion. “religious exemption” really means “ones own beliefs”.

      1. Not true. Religious Exemption in the state of Oregon is very specific to religions that are against the vaccine. Of the major religions practiced in the United States, only the Church of Christ, Scientist (whose adherents are known as “Christian Scientists”) and the Dutch Reformed Church are the two religious groups that openly discourage vaccination. Otherwise you shouldn’t legally be allowed an exemption. It’ll be interesting when the first lawsuits happen who the districts will hold responsible. My guess is it will be those who approved these “exemptions”.

        1. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

          1. Freedom of religion is also freedom *from* religion.
            People not into invisible sky people should not be subjected to your dangerous behaviors during an actual global pandemic.

        2. To further add. The EEOC that enforces Title VII uses a very broad definition of “religion” and goes beyond belief in a God and included sincerely held moral or ethical beliefs.

          1. Oh, got ya… any superstition or conspiracy theory can now be considered a ‘religion’. That’ll come in handy during the next military draft, thanks.

  2. I’m curious how the religious exemptions work. From what I understand all major religions in the United States have supported taking vaccinations, do folks that apply for an exemption have to indicate what religion they follow?

  3. Over 20% of their employees qualified for either a medical or religious exemption? I’m calling shenanigans on that, was any form of proof required? I’m aware of no religion that’s claimed the COVID vaccines violate any of their tenets/beliefs.

      1. Saw a verdict back East, (New York?) where the judge listed off the drugs that use fetal cells during the research/production of these drugs. The list includes basics like Advil/ibuprofen, etc. judge then asked each person asking for a waiver to sign a page with the list showing they had received the list and would refrain from using these drugs. Judge was clear wasn’t against the law to use those drugs, but would be against their moral compass. Interesting read.

  4. When will all you religious folks be able to stomach reading the ENTIRE barbaric horror story that you call “holy”? What a disgusting book. Then you give it to children? Read Leviticus to a 5 year old. 🤮

  5. All you negative sheep, just leave Prineville alone. Go be negative about bend and there schools. I agree with the poster above about building a wall between Prineville and bend, but to keep you sheep in bend.

    1. me2, as in I’m in complete agreement, and most vaccinated people I know aren’t worried about being among those who aren’t either. Much more worrisome than unvaccinated souls is an asinine policy of the government to require it wherever possible. We love to profess our faith in science, yet medical science has demonstrated that the antibodies among those who’ve already had covid is comparable – or even greater – thank those that have been vaccinated. This fact isn’t considered by these mandates. Neither is the predictable unintended consequences that sidelines workers during an economic cycle that is already short of productivity. The desire for increasing social control among those in power outweighs both data and the philosophy of liberty that made this country a place that people risk their lives to call home. Keep fighting the good fight friend.

      1. “The data is clear: Natural immunity is not better. The COVID-19 vaccines create more effective and longer-lasting immunity than natural immunity from infection.

        “More than a third of COVID-19 infections result in zero protective antibodies
        Natural immunity fades faster than vaccine immunity
        Natural immunity alone is less than half as effective than natural immunity plus vaccination
        “The takeaway: Get vaccinated, even if you’ve had COVID-19. Vaccine immunity is stronger than natural immunity.

        “Natural immunity can be spotty. Some people can react vigorously and get a great antibody response. Other people don’t get such a great response,” says infectious diseases expert Mark Rupp, MD. “Clearly, vaccine-induced immunity is more standardized and can be longer-lasting.”

        1. Barney, I could add links from the FDA, CDC, and others from medical research that clearly show that antibodies from a previous Covid infection provide ongoing infections. None of the research either of us finds is the last word though. Research will continue for years. Good journalism requires more of you than just seeking out random confirmation of your held beliefs. I really believe you’re capable of better.

        2. Oh is that why you need a booster after only 6 months? What you say is clear science is only clear when you cover your ears to the other differing opinions.

          1. I read no farther than his caveat: “Let me start with the usual disclaimer: THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. I AM NOT A PHYSICIAN.”
            You may have time for this stuff. I don’t and rely on reputable organizations.

    1. Works for me. I take no big pharma products. My mother lived to be 94 years old and all four of her major medical issues over the years were from big pharma medications. This includes cancer when she was 45 as her doctors later told her. In her eighties, she quit all big pharma medications and her health improved dramatically. I am not saying that will work for everyone, but it worked for her as well as many others. This includes me. So if you think big pharma has your best interests in mind, then go for it. Get on everything you can, after all the FDA has said they are all “Safe and effective”.

  6. “ This is a great reflection of our staff,” Corrigan said. “They’re just all trying to find a way to make it happen.”
    So lying and cheating the system is o.k. for the students too? I didnt know there were so many dishonest teachers in Crook County, but I do now.

  7. What a great community! Banding together to focus on the children.
    Who cares the religious affiliation? They did what was right to keep the educators working to make their kids lives better.

    Go Prineville!

    Naysayers- keep it to yourselves…

    1. Concernedasever – I totally agree with you. What a ridiculous and prejudiced bunch of people live in or around FANCY DANCEY PURE-OF-SOUL BEND, these days. Bunch of snobs and jerks. I am becoming embarrassed to mention that I LIVE in Bend and have for MANY years.

  8. Obviously the posters on here don’t understand how religious/medical exemptions work……. Do your homework before commenting. And as for reading Leviticus to 5 year olds?….. doesn’t the public school system do that already?….. And there is no reason that anyone should condemn or attack those that DO enjoy and find peace in reading the “Good Book”. These are trying times for sure, no reason we should be attacking each other. May we all just try to be kinder to our fellow man.

    1. No I try not to allow spreading of dangerous false information. This I got from a daily newsletter, the Daily Dot:
      The alleged email clearly states that cell lines were used during the testing phase of the vaccine’s development.

      Although the alleged email suggests that attempts were made to “not share” the information unless “strictly necessary,” the use of cell lines in the vaccine’s development has long been known.

      Articles on the subject have repeatedly been published since at least July of last year.

      As noted by Snopes, James Lawler, the associate professor of the Department of Internal Medicine at the Nebraska Medical Center, is just one of many medical professionals who weighed in on the issue long before the Project Veritas video.

      “The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any aborted fetal cells,” Lawler wrote. “However, fetal cell lines—cells grown in a laboratory based on aborted fetal cells collected generations ago—were used in testing during research and development of the mRNA vaccines, and during production of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine…”

      Lawler further noted that “almost all the medical products we use have in some way been touched by research that’s been done on fetal cell lines.”

      While some may still have ethical concerns over the use of cell lines in the testing phase, the claim that Pfizer’s COVID vaccine contains aborted fetal cells is untrue.

  9. The criteria for getting a vaccination religious exemption should be as stringent and controlled as the one for being allowed to legally use peyote. More so, since the vaxx refusal is far more dangerous to others.

        1. You speak truth there Barney. Government mandate that limits a citizen’s choice of what they put in their body in the name of public health could be a damn slick slope though. What behaviors would be immune from mandate by using public health as a standard? Obesity? Alcohol or tobacco use? Excessive screen time? Driving a car?

        2. “Serious illness” only pertains to the elderly and those with underlying conditions- this has not changed- even with the introduction of the Delta variant- every death you posted today clearly states an association with UC’s. What’s troubling is the massive spike in new cases after Brown opened the state in July- this has led to an additional 1200 deaths and climbing. Where’s the investigation- and why are we still seeing “Bell Curves” related to this virus- what is fueling the current decline- not vaccines- they haven’t increased in number at all.

  10. What’s wrong with reading the Bible to five year olds?? Are you concerned about the violence? Have you turned on a television lately. The violence in the Bible is there for a reason. Maybe read a little deeper. This is a book of warnings. Of what not to do, but people love their sin.

    1. “Sin” is irrelevant… The Bible assures us we are all sinners- so it’s a given. What the God’s want from mankind is love and appreciation for what they have created for us. Read your Bible again and tell me I’m wrong.

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