With the schools being closed for more than a year by now, focus on their restarting has become a necessity. But the highly contagious delta variant is a cause of concern, especially when the majority of the school-goers in America are not even eligible for vaccination.
According to Burbio, an organization tracking school re-openings amid the pandemic, nearly 700 schools in 158 districts across 25 states have either returned to virtual or hybrid learning models, temporarily closed without a remote option, or have delayed the start of the school year.
Vaccine Mandate In More Than 800 Schools And Universities
It has led to a big setback in the education sector, but public health officials are stating that they are observing an increase in pediatric cases and hospitalizations. As the result of the variant’s increased transmissibility, re-opening schools in such a scenario is not a wise idea.
Given the situation and the fact that coronavirus can spread through classrooms and academic settings, more than 800 colleges and universities across the country have adopted campus-wide vaccine mandates. The district superintendent announced that the high school students who play winter and spring sports or participate in other types of physical activity in Virginia’s Fairfax County must be vaccinated, becoming the first school system in the country to deploy a vaccine mandate.
But the vaccine mandate for schools all over the United States is far more challenging, with even the mask mandate and social distancing conditions facing a protest, and giving rise to threats against school board members.
Polling released by Education Next shows 66% of Democrats reported they will “definitely” or “probably” vaccinate their kids whereas only 35% of Republican parents said it against the 51% reporting that they will “definitely” or “probably” not vaccinate their children.
Some health officials state the role of politics is reflected in kids’ vaccination. Even when the FDA has granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in individuals 16 years old and up, the months of safety data, and the states being provided with hundreds of millions of doses, parents are still reluctant to vaccinate their children.
The current covid situation in the United States is dire and worsening because of the delta variant, it is important to vaccinate at least those who are eligible for the dose. Moore in this relation says ” ultimately, we all want kids to learn. And the best way to have them in school consistently is to make sure that they are vaccinated”.
As vaccination is the only effective way to return students to the classroom safely, the White House which was earlier avoiding the vaccine mandate for eligible K-12 students now is considering it as a good idea.
Not only politically but medical experts are also in strong favor of the vaccine mandate for eligible K-12 students, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said “I believe mandating vaccines for children to appear in school is a good idea”.
Amy Pisani, executive director of Vaccinate Your Family, on the other hand says “I don’t think that the political environment right now would be very conducive to doing this, I think it would set us back in confidence levels”
With vaccines being the only hope for normalizing lifestyle it is being estimated that the decisions in this regard will be made perhaps within the next six months.