Covid Vaccines Should Become Mandatory in Schools

Credit: Pan American Health Organization

By Annie Miller ‘25

Ever since 2020, in-school learning situations have been compromised due to Covid-19. Students were forced to learn from home or have a hybrid schedule, and when they did come back to school, masks and social distancing were mandated. Students have struggled to learn and stay motivated with their schoolwork, and their mental health is declining. As the new Delta variant sweeps across the world and affects thousands of people, some school boards are deciding to mandate the Covid vaccine, while others have more relaxed rules.

On September 9, the Los Angeles board of education decided to mandate the Covid vaccine for all in-school students ages 12 and up. This movement has been met with both praise and disapproval, and suspense is building on whether or not other schools will follow suit. Some parents say that mandating the vaccine is a good idea. It will help prevent the spread of Covid throughout our schools and is completely safe. Others say that they are not comfortable with their child getting the vaccine so young, and are wary of the side effects that could come with the shot.

The New York Times asked students what their opinion was about mandated vaccines, and received a wide range of responses. Jon, a high school student in New York, made a good point: “A student’s mind should be on learning, rather than what door handles not to touch. Without context, I would believe this is unfair, however, if for example the measles vaccine is required, why not in this case? School systems have had no problems with requiring other immunizations.” When a child starts school in Kindergarten, it is required that they have 5 vaccines/shots. (The Polio Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP) Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Hepatitis B and the Varicella (Chickenpox)). 

All students who are 12 and older should be required to get the vaccine. However, it would be safer and smoother for school districts to wait until the start of the 2022-2023 school year to mandate vaccinations. If a student is unable/unwilling to get the vaccine for any reason, they should have the option to learn at home. In order for the world to return to what we consider the “normal,” we need to take the necessary steps to do so.

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