School can still seem blissful to American students in the middle of summer. But for those who are eligible, the time may be running out for a back-to-school requirement: getting fully immunized against the coronavirus before classes can resume.
Many of the country’s more than 13,000 districts, particularly in the South and Southwest, Plan to start the 2021-22 school year before Labor Day. completing the course of Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine, now the only vaccine federally authorized For children 12 to 17 years old, it takes at least five weeks to administer two shots and reach full protection. In many of those early districts, students will need to receive their first dose over the next few days in order to be fully immunized in time.
In the Hamilton County School District in Tennessee, the first day of school is scheduled for August 12. Counting back from then on, students have to get their first shot the following Thursday in order to fully secure the first day.
Cody Patterson, a spokeswoman for the district, which covers Chattanooga and serves 45,000 students, said that while vaccinations are not mandatory for the new school year, the district was clarifying to parents that “we believe that Vaccination is an important strategy to keep the school open.”
Mr Patterson said individual schools in the district would probably accommodate students case by case if they were concerned about completing their vaccinations.
When the pandemic took hold last year, schools across the country closed and moved to online instruction. But as the pandemic progressed, research showed that primary and secondary schools were not the major drivers of infection.
Colleges are another matter, with campuses seeing multiple outbreaks. There are many colleges (with some private secondary schools). Students need to be vaccinated to appear in person this fall. This is difficult Public Middle and High School It did so, for legal and other reasons, and a spokesperson for the American Federation of Teachers said that the union was not aware of any US school district making vaccination mandatory.
it’s only done since May That any vaccine was available to children aged 12 to 15 in the United States. In many states, Adolescents need parental consent to be vaccinated. No vaccine has yet been authorized for children under 12 years of age.
Michael Purry, the superintendent of the Little Rock School District in Arkansas, said the district has contacted parents, worked with local health officials, and conducted extensive local and social media campaigns to persuade students and their parents to get vaccinated. Made access.
He said the district also ran vaccination programs in its 11 middle and high schools, but only 300 to 400 of the district’s roughly 11,000 eligible students received shots at the events.
School in Little Rock begins August 16, so to be completely safe until then, students must get their first dose by Monday.
“We’re actually going to move the vaccines forward in August,” Mr Poor said, “because if you haven’t gotten the shot and you’re close to someone who has the virus, you have to be quarantined.”
In some places, such as the Chandler Unified School District in Arizona, which is reopening on July 21, it is already too late for students who haven’t yet been vaccinated before school starts to be fully protected.
District spokeswoman Kimberly Guevara said the district had informed parents when vaccines were authorized for teens and told them how to get a shot, but “we’re not going to force vaccinations on students.”
Ms Guevara said she and eligible family members were vaccinated as soon as possible.