I know Anne Arundel County is not my normal reporting area…but I thought this was significant enough to note here on the blog this morning. The following was announced on September 20th:
SCHOOL SYSTEM TO REQUIRE VACCINATIONS OR WEEKLY COVID TESTS FROM EMPLOYEES, HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT-ATHLETES
Anne Arundel County Public Schools will require employees and high school student-athletes to certify they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing beginning November 22, 2021, Superintendent George Arlotto announced today.
Dr. Arlotto has previously stated that he favors implementation of a vaccination-or-testing model, and the school system has been putting the final logistical steps in place to enact it for several weeks. As it has on COVID-related matters since the inception of the pandemic, the school system has been discussing the model with the Anne Arundel County Department of Health.
“We still need to finalize some parts of the plan, but announcing an effective date now allows our employees and families of our high school students to begin to either gather the necessary information or become fully vaccinated by November 22 if they choose to do so,” Dr. Arlotto said.
While discussions initially centered around employees, they began to include student-athletes as the number of positive COVID-19 cases and the number of people in quarantine rose dramatically in recent weeks. Student-athletes already undergo health screenings to ensure they are fit to compete. Requiring vaccinations or testing among student-athletes will help ensure that AACPS can continue full competitive seasons in the winter and spring, Dr. Arlotto said.
“Vaccinations are the single most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones,” Anne Arundel County Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman said. “The goal of our collaborative efforts is to keep our schools open, and this is a key step towards doing exactly that.”
A process for submitting vaccination certifications and a weekly testing protocol will be announced by mid-October.
The school system is also finalizing a contract with a vendor to provide surveillance testing of unvaccinated students whose families provide consent to do so. Testing for symptomatic students and staff has been available in school health rooms since last spring.
The employee COVID-19 vaccine requirement or regular testing is becoming more of a norm today but the “high school student-athlete” requirement is kind of new.
Here in Maryland I have seen the following announcements about other jurisdictions:
- Via WMAR on September 1st: Baltimore City Public Schools on Wednesday said they would begin requiring all staff and high school student athletes to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
- Via WTOP on September 9th: School staff working in public schools in Montgomery County, Maryland, will have to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and student-athletes interested in participating in athletics this school year must get vaccinated, as well.
- Via WTOP on September 10th: Prince George’s Co. schools updates COVID-19 testing policy, announces vaccine requirement for athletes
Also in DC they made a similar announcement on September 20th:
- Mayor Bowser Announces COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements for All Adults Regularly in Schools and Child Care Centers and for Student Athletes
If you know of other areas with this requirement from student athletes let me know in the comments (here on the blog or in comments on social media). I may create a new map similar to the ones I did back for the Mask Mandates in Schools if more jurisdictions in Maryland head in this direction with high school athletics.