Allendale Columbia mandating COVID-19 vaccines for employees, has new Head of School
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Allendale Columbia School is requiring all employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19 before the start of the school year.
It’s the first school in the Rochester area to require its staff to get vaccinated without presenting a testing option, as the Rochester City School District did.
The announcement was made in the form of a letter to the Allendale Columbia community. The letter says the decision was made by the school’s Board of Trustees, but that’s not all the board decided.
The letter also says Dr. Glen Pinder, who was appointed Head of School on July 1, 2021, no longer serves as the Head of School as of Aug. 18.
The letter reads, “While we appreciate Dr. Pinder and believe he also has the interests of our community at heart, we have a substantial difference of opinion in what it takes to keep our students and employees safe. Thus, as of August 18th, 2021, Dr. Pinder is no longer the Head of School at Allendale Columbia.”
Chair of the Allendale Columbia Board of Trustees Ann Balderston declined to elaborate on what the board meant by “substantial differences of opinion” when News10NBC asked her. She said she stands by the letter that was sent.
Shannon Baudo will serve as the Head of School after serving as the Interim Head of School last year and the Assistant Head of School before that.
The full letter reads:
"Dear Members of the AC Community,
"I am writing to you about two decisions that were recently made by the Board of Trustees.
"At Allendale Columbia, the health, safety, and security of our students, their families, and our employees is of utmost importance and priority for the AC Board of Trustees and Administration. The school set best practices in the region last year in terms of creating policies and procedures that created a safe environment for the school community during a global pandemic, and it has always done so prior to that national crisis. This included the layering of multiple protection tactics such as masking, sanitization, replacing our HVAC system, health screeners, daily deep cleaning, cohorting and podding for classes, etc.
"With the COVID-19 Delta variant on the rise, the Board consulter with medical experts and conferred with the New York State Association of Independent Schools. After much consideration, we unanimously decided to add another layer of protection to our AC Community and put a mandatory vaccine policy in for all AC employees prior to the start of the school year. We are once again putting the safety of our school community first and foremost.
As many of you know, Dr. Glen Pinder was appointed Head of School at Allendale Columbia on July 1, 2021. While we appreciate Dr. Pinder and believe he also has the interests of the community at heart, we have a significant difference of opinion in what it takes to keep our students and employees safe. Thus, effective August 18, 2021, Dr. Pinder will no longer be Head of School at Allendale Columbia and Shannon Baudo will step back into the Head of School role, backed by a strong and consistent Leadership Team.
"Given Shannon’s proven track record over the past seven years at AC, her ability to successfully navigate the school through a pandemic, and her dedication to our community, she was the unanimous choice of the Board. We will be working with Shannon to establish a long-term leadership plan. The success of Allendale Columbia School, especially over the past three years, is not attributable to one person, but rather to the collective efforts of leadership, faculty, staff, and of course our alumni and current students.
"We feel strongly that each member of the school community has a personal responsibility to ensure safety for all, especially when working with children, and we are requiring specific protective measures as our school, the greater Rochester community, and the world navigate through a global pandemic."