Should Schools Mandate Covid 19 Vaccinations?

Members+of+the+Frederick+County+Health+Department+smile+for+a+photo+during+the+Vaccine+Clinic+that+was+held+at+Oakdale+High+School+on+8%2F27%2F21.

Frederick County Health Department

Members of the Frederick County Health Department smile for a photo during the Vaccine Clinic that was held at Oakdale High School on 8/27/21.

Rhiannon Evans, Editor

Throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic, one of the most controversial topics discussed was the vaccine. Now that it’s back to school season, one of the most asked questions is: will schools mandate vaccines for students?

First, here are the facts. The Pfizer Vaccine was the first to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 11, 2020. Moderna followed shortly, getting approved on December 18, 2020, and Johnson & Johnson was the last vaccine approved for emergency use on February 27, 2021. Finally, as of August 23, 2021, Pfizer became the first vaccine manufacturer to be approved for full use authorization by the FDA for ages 16 and older (12-15 is still an emergency use designation).

There are many mixed opinions about vaccines in schools. Riley Frutiger, senior at Oakdale High School shared, “at some point there should be a mandate in at least high schools”.

One of the biggest reasons people are in favor of vaccine mandates in schools is because of how crowded schools are. In Oakdale High School alone, there are 1,467 students and students have reported that, “there is no room in the hallways, it’s like a traffic jam.”

When asked if vaccines are safe and effective, Frutiger replied “I do, the case and death numbers have already proven that it is.”

However, many people are still skeptical. Cait Mitchell, senior at Oakdale shared, “Schools shouldn’t mandate it simply because it’s a sensitive topic right now.” but went on to say, “if you’re unvaccinated you should wear your mask.” Mitchell voiced that it should be up to the students if they want to get vaccinated, as long as precautions are in place for those who wish to stay unvaccinated.

While it is a tough topic to decide on, I think schools should mandate the Covid-19 vaccine, at least for junior and senior high school students. Now that Pfizer is approved for full use for anyone 16 and older, it means that the vaccine is safe, and clearly it’s been effective so far in lessening the spread of the virus, as well as lessening the severity of it as well. Although it will take a while for schools to enforce vaccine mandates, in the meantime they should definitely enforce masks for students who are not yet vaccinated.

In the end, no one can control what the school district decides to do or not do. Everyone can do their part to keep everyone safe by getting vaccinated, wearing masks, and staying home if they feel sick. Ultimately it’s students’ actions that will determine if schools stay open.