The District of Columbia does not appear to have a contingency plan for unvaccinated students, who are banned from attending schools in person this fall after the first 20 days, according to comments made by Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser Thursday.
During a press conference, Bowser, a Democrat, admitted there are no alternative options, including virtual learning, for students who cannot attend school due to the District’s vaccine mandate, meaning unvaccinated children will effectively be left without an education.
Over 40% of blacks ages 12-17 are not vaccinated, according to city data.
The Daily Signal asked Bowser what the plan was for unvaccinated students. Washington, D.C., public schools start Monday.
Bowser responded, “They can go to school on Monday. But they need to get their vaccinations … and their families will be alerted as to the dates.”
Students get 20 days to provide their vaccination certificate. The Office of the State Superintendent of Education for D.C. announced that “all students must have up-to-date immunization certification on file with the school within the first 20 school days or they will not be allowed to attend school or school activities until the immunization certification is secured by the school.”
The office continued, “If the student does not come into compliance within a 20-school day period, the school must remove the student from school until the immunization certification is secured by the school.”
When pressed on whether or not unvaccinated children would have to use virtual learning for their education if they were not compliant with the vaccine mandate, Bowser said, “We’re not offering remote learning for children, and families will need to comply with what is necessary to come to school.”
Updated data from the government’s vaccine numbers website shows 47% of the black children in the district ages 12-15 had not completed their primary vaccination series necessary to go back to school in person.
Among black teens aged 16-17, 42% are unvaccinated.
An Aug. 25 press release from the District of Columbia Public Schools’ website reads, “The Coronavirus Immunization of School Students and Early Childhood Workers Amendment Act of 2021, which the Council passed in 2021, requires students ages 12 and older to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to attend school.” The mandate also applies to students attending D.C. private schools.
In addition to the vaccination requirement, the release states that “all students and staff will need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result before the start of the 2022-2023 school year.”
The Daily Signal reached out to Bowser’s office and D.C. Public Schools for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.
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