Mandate vaccines for eligible students


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BEATING THE PANDEMIC: Getting vaccinated is the first step in making progress towards a pre-COVID society.

Starting in kindergarten, states have immunization requirements designed to keep students healthy. In the age of COVID, getting vaccinated is of the utmost importance if we want to overcome this pandemic. Many businesses are requiring vaccines for their employees, and as such, schools should start vaccine mandates for all eligible students. 

In today’s society, the COVID vaccines have become political weapons, further dividing people. A study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation in May found that around 108 million Americans have some level of vaccine hesitancy. Party lines and political beliefs should not take priority of public safety; the science should speak for itself.

With the recent return to full in-person learning, many COVID precautions are still in place. The vaccines have allowed us to ditch past safeguards such as contact tracing and face shields, yet wearing masks and social distancing persists. The COVID vaccines decrease the chance of becoming infected by 91 percent, meaning if everyone in school was vaccinated, we could see the elimination of additional safety measures.

Some governments have started to require vaccinations. In late July, California and New York City announced vaccine mandates for public employees that took effect in early August and mid-September, respectively. More than 800 universities in America have also begun to require the COVID vaccine for their students, otherwise, regular testing is required. 

Some individuals may believe that this infringes on their rights and that the government should not tell them what to do. Of course, there should be religious and medical exemptions, however, these individuals who don’t want to get vaccinated would need to submit to routine testing.

According to a May survey of 3,500 adults conducted by Gallup, 56 percent of people agree with mandating the vaccine for high school students. However, mandating vaccines for K-12 public schools is challenging. Private institutions can enact individual mandates, yet state-wide requirements for COVID vaccines would have to be put in place for public schools.

There comes a point where politics and safety intersect and, in light of returning to pre-COVID normalcies, we must prioritize safety.