Little Rock, Ark., October 14, 2021
Easterseals Arkansas, one of the first businesses in the state to enact a Covid-19 vaccine requirement, is nearly 100 percent vaccinated among its staff. The policy announced on July 22 required all employees to be fully vaccinated by September 30. Less than 2 percent of staff chose not to get vaccinated and separated from the organization.
Easterseals Arkansas is proud to be one of the first businesses to have made this decision regarding vaccination. We chose to lead in this way because we recognize that vaccination protects people with disabilities who come to us for services and is crucial to safeguarding public health and bringing an end to the pandemic.
“Prior to requiring the vaccine, we had been relying on our team to make their own decisions about receiving the Covid-19 vaccination,” said Easterseals Arkansas CEO Ron Ekstrand. “However, we realized that decision impacted too many others, including those we are here to serve and to support – many of whom are too young or too medically fragile to get the vaccine themselves,” he said. “Medical and religious exemptions have been made in accordance with the law and that is why our final vaccination number is 98.9%.”
Since the onset of this pandemic, Easterseals Arkansas has been using three criteria to help make decisions for the good of all involved:
1) What will keep the individuals we serve and our staff safe and healthy?
2) What will keep programs open so our staff can have jobs?
3) What will keep Easterseals Arkansas financially sustainable?
Ekstrand added, “Overall, the response to requiring the vaccine has been positive. Back in the 1940s, Easterseals Arkansas was originally founded as a service organization in response to the polio epidemic. We are proud to continue to lead the way by requiring the Covid-19 vaccine for employees to help eradicate the spread of this deadly and debilitating virus. This decision is in line with our mission to serve individuals with disabilities and their families.”
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About Easterseals Arkansas
For more than 75 years, Easterseals Arkansas has provided exceptional services to empower children and adults with disabilities to be full and equal participants of society. Easterseals Arkansas is leading the way to 100% equity, inclusion, and access through life-changing disability and community services. Services include developmental preschools in Little Rock and Stuttgart; speech-language, physical, and occupational therapy; independent living programs; and transition programs to promote employment. www.eastersealsar.com