School Board unanimously approves vaccine mandate for all eligible students

At Wednesday’s Board of Education meeting, trustees unanimously approved a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all age-eligible students. Those who are currently eligible as of Sept. 22 (ages 12 and older) must receive both vaccine doses by no later than November 17, 2021 and younger students must receive both vaccine doses by no later than eight weeks after age eligibility. (If vaccine is not available, the superintendent has the authority to “reasonably extend” the deadline.) Pfizer-BionTech reported this week that its vaccine was safe and effective for children age 5 to 11 and is submitting an application to the Food and Drug Administration by the end of September for authorization to use the vaccine in these children.

The new policy says that all age-eligible unvaccinated students “shall be excluded from in-person school and referred to independent study, unless the student is exempt from the COVID-19 vaccination as prescribed by a licensed physician.” Age-eligible exempt students will be tested at least once a week.

The Board heard from callers who strongly supported the mandate but also from two who questioned the legal authority of the school district to issue a mandate and another who questioned the scientific underpinnings of vaccines.

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