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Vax To School: Parents in Queens concerned about COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the near future for schools

2 mins read

The school year has kicked off, but the views about jab regulations are split down the middle.

Shortly, the New York Department of Health will require hospitals and long-term health care facility employees to be vaccinated. The mandate requires a first dose by September 27. More than that, non-profit groups have received an okay from the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) to vaccinate foster teens aged 16 and 17-years-old, even if parents object

“The fact that we’re bullying parents in all these different ways to say you have no say over your child is extremely outrageous to me,” said child-welfare advocate Joyce McMillan.  

Due to this ongoing trend, parents can see a vaccination mandate for schools coming down the pike. 

“I don’t agree that it should be mandated for kids. It’s new and it’s too risky,” says Queens parent, Tamara Blocker. While she understands the seriousness of the virus, mask mandates and mandatory vaccinations among teachers and staff would be a sufficient alternative until more research is done. 

“If you want to use your child as a test dummy, fine but what you’re not going to do is use all of our children as test dummies,” Blocker added. 

At the moment, the CDC reports that the rate of hospitalization for children was nearly four times higher in states with the lowest vaccination rates compared to states with high vaccination rates. Still, the Biden Administration has allowed school districts to implement the agenda of the public health agency of the United States. 

“Queens is leading the #COVID vaccine race in New York City with more than 1.5 million people fully vaccinated. That’s a staggering number – but we’re not stopping there,” posted Mayor Bill de Blasio on Twitter.

Thus, Biden’s American Rescue plan consists of allocating $130 billion to help schools reopen, as well as, support academic growth while addressing inequities further aggravated by the pandemic. 

The Whitehouse maintains that the most important step parents can take is to get people vaccinated. Biden’s agenda includes getting all staff and eligible students vaccinated, implementing universal indoor masking and maintaining physical distancing. Additionally, his plan would improve ventilation and administer regular testing for students and school staff. 

Presently, adolescents who are 12-years-old and above, are eligible to take the vaccination. Now, the FDA is now undergoing a process to evaluate vaccines for those who are younger than that. 

Governor Kathy Hochul tweeted, “We’re getting students, teachers & staff across New York #VaxToSchool safely with the launch of 120 new pop-up vaccination events. These events will help us ramp up our vaccination efforts and reach as many communities as possible.”

. . .

At this time, vaccines are not mandatory for students. As a matter of fact, the New York City Department of Education (NY DOE) implemented a testing initiative for students who are unvaccinated. The campaign is organized by NYC Health + Hospitals corporation, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), and the NYC Test & Trace Corps. 

In their strategy, if ten percent of students attending a school are unvaccinated, this initiative would see to it that every week, NYC schools would randomly test unvaccinated minors 12-years-old and above, and who have submitted consent. Currently, preschoolers and kindergarteners are not included in this initiative. 

Despite the current stance of the NYCDOE, parents sense that it is only a matter of time before vaccines become mandatory in schools. Those who disagree with the mandate, have already begun protesting to get ahead the issue with the pass. 

“All who are against mandatory vaccines & fall victim to these new guidelines they are trying to implement which is unconstitutional should be ready to rally at all times no matter what….What will be next after this mandate if they allow it to pass?” said Queens parent and Instagram user scaredofbeingfit_nyc.

There is currently a petition circulating the internet that would allow New Yorkers to decide whether or not the COVID-19 vaccine is for them.

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