Some lucky students are in line for free college if they get vaccinated

In other COVID news, Miami-Dade County Public Schools becomes the latest big Florida district to ease mask requirements
By: | November 10, 2021
Gov. Kathy Hochul discusses COVID-19 vaccines with students in Mount Vernon, N.Y. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)Gov. Kathy Hochul discusses COVID-19 vaccines with students in Mount Vernon, N.Y. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)

Getting vaccinated now in New York could pay off years down the road for young children, and not just by helping them to avoid COVID.

The state is now offering 5- to 11-year-olds who get their first dose before Christmas a chance to win a full college scholarship—covering tuition, room and board—at a SUNY or CUNY school.

“Finally, the COVID-19 vaccine is here for young New Yorkers age 5 through 11,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said in announcing the contest. “and we will creatively support and celebrate those who get vaccinated.”

The newly launched “Vaccinate, Educate, Graduate” program will announce 10 winners scholarship winners each week between Nov. 24 and Dec. 19.

More from DA: How angry are parents really about masks and other safety precautions?

“Vaccinations were the key to a more normal academic and campus experience throughout SUNY,” SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras said. “Now that even younger individuals have an approved vaccine option, this is another huge step to seeing the finish line of this pandemic.’

Mask melees mellowing?

Miami-Dade County Public Schools this week became the latest Florida district to ease mask requirements after waging a months-long battle over mandates with state officials.

All students can opt-out of the mandate beginning on Nov. 12. Miami-Dade County Public Schools announced Nov. 1 that high school and middle school students can opt-out of the district’s mask requirements. Parents are still required to submit an opt-out form.

“M-DCPS will continue to follow science, consult with our medical experts, and review our protocols on a weekly basis to identify opportunities for further adjustments of COVID-19 protocols,” the district says on its website.

Broward County Public Schools will no longer require masks as of Nov. 20, but face coverings remain strongly encouraged. The district began offering vaccinations to younger students on Wednesday, School Board chair Rosalind Osgood said in a video message.

“Our positivity rate is down, we’re seeing less and less students quarantined, we have vaccine more readily available to the community,” Osgood said. “‘We know we’re not totally free of the pandemic.”

On Oct. 26, Broward County schools allowed high school students to ditch masks without having to submit any formal opt-out requests.

Closures are creeping up again

After a multi-week lull in school closures, a handful of districts went remote this week—or announced plans to shut down temporarily.

In Colorado, three buildings in Denver Public Schools are shutting down temporarily due to staff shortages. George Washington High School, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College and John H. Amesse Elementary School are closed until Nov. 15.  Seattle and Bellevue public schools in Washington will be closed on Nov. 11 and 12 due to staffing shortages.

In Illinois, Edison Junior High School in Rock Island-Milan School District #41 has shifted to remote learning until Nov. 29. Willow Bend Elementary School in Community Consolidated School District 15 will be also remote until Nov. 29, reported.

The Curley K-8 School, part of Boston Public Schools, is closed to in-person learning until Nov. 22. And PS166 in Queens, New York, closed for 10 days on Nov. 9.

And in Wisconsin, William Cullen Bryant School, a middle school in Milwaukee, is on remote learning until Nov. 22, reported. Benjamin Franklin School in Milwaukee Public Schools has moved to virtual learning until Nov. 16, reported