Washington D.C. provides no alternatives for unvaccinated students kicked out of public school 

by mcardinal

Lauren C. Moye, FISM News


Unvaccinated children in Washington D.C. may find themselves kicked out of public school without alternative access to free education under a vaccination mandate that is expected to disproportionately affect minorities and poor families.

On Aug. 25, the Democratic mayor of Washington D.C., Muriel Bowser, announced that deadlines were approaching for families to ensure their students could attend school. This means that students are expected to be current on all vaccinations, including a full series of COVID-19 vaccinations for those aged 12 or up.

Students must also submit a negative COVID-19 test before beginning in-person classes.

“Beginning in the 2022-23 school year, the COVID-19 vaccine is required for school enrollment and attendance in the District of Columbia for all students who are of an age for which there is a COVID-19 vaccination fully approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As of July 8, 2022, there is a fully approved COVID-19 vaccine for individuals age 12 and older,” the State Superintendent reminded parents on a recently updated page.

A notice at the top warns that there were only 20 days left for students to file an up-to-date immunization card “or they will not be allowed to attend school or school activities until” the school receives the card. 

The requirement exists because of the Coronavirus Immunization of School Students and Early Childhood Workers Amendment Act of 2021 passed by the City Council. 

It’s a new attendance requirement that will also impact all schools in Washington D.C., including private, parochial, and independent schools, according to the Superintendent information page.

The attendance policy states that a primary series of COVID-19 vaccinations must be completed to be considered compliant. Boosters are encouraged but not required.

However, city data shows that only 72% of children ages 12-15 have received a full series. That number rises to 76% for ages 16-17.

This means that roughly 8,000 students are currently considered ineligible for public school. The majority of these children are minorities.

The Daily Signal reported that 47% of ages 12-15 and 42% of the older group are currently unqualified for school attendance under the guidelines.

Worse, it appears there is no alternative plan in place for these students.

A Daily Signal reporter asked Bowser what these children are supposed to do. The mayor 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.”

She then added, “We’re not offering remote learning for children, and families will need to comply with what is necessary to come to school.”

That’s a problem for a country that generally views free public education with the same regard as a constitutional right. It’s a problem large enough that Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) recently introduced a motion to protect children from the mandate.

Ahead of the Aug. 8 vote, Cruz said, “If Democrats vote no on this motion to commit, they will be voting to tell thousands of African American students in D.C. you’re not allowed to come to school, your education doesn’t matter.”

Democrats blocked the mandate, which was not adopted in a 49-51 vote along party lines.

That’s hypocrisy for Democrats, who have promoted free education extending into college during recent election cycles. This includes President Joe Biden who once pushed for a free two years of community college in his Build Back Better plan.

Religious exemptions can be granted to families who submit a completed exemption form to both DC Health and their schools.