Vaccination update: Fauci announcement creates a new change to schooling

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Ella Litchfield

Fauci made a recent announcement that all grade school kids will be able to become fully vaccinated by 2022.

Ella Litchfield, Photo Editor

The vaccination process has gained recent announcements which have put many at ease as schools start to prepare for future schooling for elementary kids. Fauci declares that this age group can be fully vaccinated by the end of first semester in the year 2021-2022. 

New findings published on AAP News, a publication by the American Academy of Pediatricians, announced the progression in delivering vaccines to younger children. 

Journalist, Melissa Jenco, reports on these updates directly from the companies associated with the following vaccines. “Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are testing their mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in adolescents, and vaccination of this age group could start in the fall.” 

Writes Jenco, “Moderna also announced Tuesday it has begun a study in children under age 12 years that gradually will include children as young as 6 months. The AAP has been pushing for vaccine trials in children.” With available dates, children approach the possibility of becoming fully vaccinated.

CNBC reports Fauci’s update on the vaccination process for kids, “For high school students, it looks like they will be available to get vaccinated in the beginning of the fall, very likely for the fall term,” Fauci told lawmakers during a hearing with the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.”

Expectations such as these can make or break the reentrance to schooling after winter break. With a large number of people hesitant on the vaccinations, administrators cannot predict a full in-person return to school even after vaccines are made available. 

Darren Erickson, principal of Pleasant Valley high school, is hesitant on next year’s decision on requiring students to be fully vaccinated.. “This is difficult to determine and will be dependent on the number of people who choose not to vaccinate along with what we find to be the effectiveness of the vaccine long term.” 

States Erickson, “There are many people in our community that choose not to get certain vaccines for various reasons and for the most part it has little to no impact on our school. This could be for a variety of reasons, but one could speculate that the number is small enough that there still isn’t an opportunity for mass spread if situations arise, or even for the unvaccinated person to get  exposed to a particular virus. But if that number is high enough, the opportunity for spread is higher.”

While the final decision will not be made until next school year, options for possible routes leave current students with questions. Unlike many colleges and universities, K-12 schools have yet to consider a requirement for the vaccines to prevent coronavirus. 

This possible pushback for a required vaccine has troubled seniors who will be attending more health-safe campuses than their hometown school district. Erica Heiselman, senior at PV, has a certain option in mind for her school that may guarantee a healthier student body. “ I think that all kids should be fully vaccinated upon their return to school in the Fall of 2021.” 

Shares Heiselman, “Whether a person is insured or not through healthcare does not change the fact that the vaccine is free for all. Having every student vaccinated increases the chances for herd immunity, lowering the chances for people to get COVID-19.” Heiselman spreads this statement as someone concerned for future PV years and what students will have to face.

Approaches such as these can create a large pushback by parents and kids who disagree with vaccinations. The possibility of this concerns administration, however, safety risk for students and faculty is the main priority as well as student education. 

The PV principal, Erickson, determines a possibility of pushback and what it means for PV as well as the health of the community. “There are many people in our community that choose not to get certain vaccines for various reasons and for the most part it has little to no impact on our school.” 

Said Erickson, “This could be for a variety of reasons, but one could speculate that the number is small enough that there still isn’t an opportunity for mass spread if situations arise, or even for the unvaccinated person to get exposed to a particular virus. But if that number is high enough, the opportunity for spread is higher.” An increase in cases is stated to ultimately determine the school’s return after the first semester in ‘21 to ‘22.

With all of these options in mind, the student body can approach the topic more calmly and be aware of all of the concerning factors. Ultimately, all of the written quotes are similar in prioritizing health and education for the PV district. This will carry on in the final decision on whether or not to require vaccinations when they become available to all ages.