Vaccine tracker: Schools in 14 states now require students to get COVID shots

A handful of states have barred schools from requiring the COVID vaccine
By: | November 15, 2021
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A small but growing number of districts are mandating vaccines for eligible students as the COVID delta variant disrupted the beginning of yet another school year.

Though a handful of states have barred schools from requiring the COVID vaccine, administrators and school boards in several communities have decided mandates are the best way to keep students healthy and in school. Here’s a look at where districts have taken action on vaccines:

ARIZONA: The Phoenix Union High School District requires students who participate in sports and select extra-curricular activities to be vaccinated or test weekly for COVID-19.

CALIFORNIA: California will add the COVID vaccine to its list of mandatory school vaccinations as soon as the medicines receive full FDA approval, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Oct. 1. That requirement could go into effect for 12- to 17-year-olds as soon as Jan. 1, Newsom said during an appearance at James Denman Middle School in San Francisco USD.

Sacramento City USD has moved ahead of the state and requires eligible students to get fully vaccinated by Nov. 30.

El Monte Union High School District on Oct. 6 approved a mandate that requires student-athletes to be vaccinated by Nov. 19 and all other eligible students by Jan. 3, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported.

The San Diego Unified School District school board on Sept. 28 approved a mandate that requires staff and students age 16 and older to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 20. About 65% of eligible students and 80% of employees were at least partially vaccinated when the mandate was enacted, the district said on Facebook.

Oakland USD’s school board voted 5-1 to the vaccine meeting after midnight Thursday but did not set a timeline, ABC7News.com reported.

Piedmont USD, just to Oakland’s east, requires families of all eligible students (age 12+) to provide proof of vaccination by Nov. 17. Students who do not provide proof will be shifted to an independent study program.

Hayward USD on Sept. 22 required vaccines for all students 12 and older, KPIX reported.

Los Angeles USD requires students in extracurricular activities to be fully vaccinated in October, and all other eligible students by Dec. 19. Younger students have 30 days after turning 12 to being the vaccination process.

On Sept. 21, Urban Discovery Schools, a charter system in San Deigo, added COVID vaccinations to the list of vaccines students are required to receive. “we are demonstrating our steadfast belief that this additional vaccination requirement is in the best interest of student health, well-being, and learning,” Chief Executive Officer Shawn T. Loescher said in a message to the community.

Culver City USD requires eligible students to become fully vaccinated by Nov. 19.

San Diego USD’s school board will vote Tuesday that would require eligible students to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 20, NBCSanDiego.com reported.

COLORADO: Student-athletes in schools in Jefferson County must show proof of vaccination or be tested weekly for COVID, 9News.com reported.

HAWAII: The state’s single district required all student-athletes, athletic staff and volunteers to be fully vaccinated by Sept. 24.

ILLINOIS: In a non-binding vote, the Springfield School District 186 board of education said it will support any state effort to add COVID-19 vaccinations to the regular schedule of immunizations for students, The State Journal-Register reported.

MAINE: The state’s CDC is considering mandating COVID vaccinations for K-12 students, WGME.com reported on Nov. 14.

MARYLAND: High school athletes in Baltimore County Public Schools must show proof of vaccination by Nov. 24 to participate in winter and spring sports, WBAL.com reported.

The Howard County Public School System on Oct. 1 required students to show proof of vaccination by Nov. 11 to participate in sports.

Anne Arundel County Public Schools requires high school student-athletes to certify they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing by Nov. 22, Superintendent George Arlotto announced on Sept. 20.

Montgomery County Public Schools required winter and spring athletes to get vaccinated by Nov. 15. “Vaccinations will allow activities to proceed with minimal disruption and support individual and team health and safety across MCPS Athletics,” the district says.

MASSACHUSETTS: Cambridge Public Schools on Oct. 6 made the COVID vaccine mandatory. It requires all eligible students to get vaccinated by Nov. 22. On Nov. 29, unvaccinated students will not be allowed to participate in sports, performing arts or other extra-curricular activities.

The Amherst Board of Health on Sept. 27 approved a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for public school students in the city, WesternMassNews.com reported.

Belmont Public Schools has required that students who participate in sports and certain extracurricular activities be vaccinated by Dec. 1, according to WickedLocal.com.

MINNESOTA: Minneapolis School District requires unvaccinated high school athletes to be tested weekly for COVID-19, StarTribube.com reported.

NEW YORK: New York City student-athletes in high-risk sports such as football, volleyball, basketball, wrestling, lacrosse and rugby had to get their vaccinations by the time competition began this fall.

The Schenectady City School District has also mandated vaccines for student-athletes, according to News10.com.

NORTH CAROLINA: Warren County Schools requires student-athletes to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 8, The Warren Record reported.

OHIO: A Cincinnati Public Schools committee is drafting a vaccine mandate for all eligible students, which could make the district the first large system east of the Mississippi River to pass such a requirement, The Enquirer reported.

Beachwood City Schools’ school board will consider a proposal to required a vaccine mandate for students 16 and older who participate in extracurricular activities, Fox8.com reported.

OREGON: The Corvallis School District is considering a vaccine mandate for eligible students, KEZI.com reported.

Portland Public Schools’ school board is surveying parents on a proposed vaccine mandate for eligible students.

PENNSYLVANIA: Students participating in winter sports in The School District of Philadelphia are required to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 18. Spring athletes must get vaccinated by March 1.

VIRGINIA: Suffolk Public Schools requires middle and high school student-athletes to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 12 or test negative for COVID each week.

Winter and spring student-athletes in Arlington County Public Schools need to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 8, WTOP.com reported.

Fairfax County Public Schools has mandated vaccines for students playing winter and spring sports.

Chesapeake Public Schools and Virginia Beach City Public Schools are also requiring athletes to be fully vaccinated by November or be tested weekly, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

Alexandria City Schools requires student-athletes to get vaccinated, according to the Alexandria Times.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Student-athletes in District of Columbia Public Schools must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Sept. 20. There is no test-out option.