VHSL Mandates Covid-19 Vaccination for All Athletes

Photo via South Lakes Boys Basketball/Facebook

Photo via South Lakes Boys Basketball/Facebook

Ryan Ertlschweiger, Staff Writer

Starting November 8th, Fairfax County Public Schools will mandate the Covid-19 vaccination in accordance with what was publicized by VHSL recently.  According to a statement by Superintendent Scott Braband earlier this month, FCPS fully endorses this proposal and will require all athletes to prove vaccination status or routine Covid-19 tests for those who are unvaccinated. This vaccine mandate comes after the FDA came out and gave “full-use authorization” to the Pfizer vaccine for people 16 and older. FCPS, along with LCPS, are the first ones seen to endorse the Covid-19 vaccine mandate in the Virginia/DC area, and have brought a bit of controversy along with it. 

This controversy comes because freshmen and sophomores, or 14 and 15 year olds, do not have authorization from the FDA. This led VHSL to discuss whether or not they will even allow anyone under the age of 16 to participate in school-funded sports. Even though 85% of students aged 16 to 18 have at least one dose of the vaccine, in just the first week of school, FCPS reported that 233 people, both students and staff, tested positive for Covid-19.

One reason for the mandated Covid-19 vaccination for school-funded athletics is because unlike the academic school year, playing sports is a choice. VHSL wanted to start with a smaller group of students to see how this mandate works. With vaccines being mandatory in these outdoor sports, people will have to wait and see what the mask policy is, as it usually differs between sports. When everything is all said and done, the vaccine is put into effect in an attempt to keep people from getting sick, and hopefully this is the first step in the process of being a Covid free school and county.