We need a required vaccine

We need a required vaccine

Brooke Chomko, Reporter

With the school administration’s recent announcement of a full return to school in the fall of 2021 and a shift back to the normal class schedule, it is key that the students and staff are kept as safe as possible. This cannot be done without requiring everyone entering the school to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Somehow, this is a controversial discussion that will likely spark debate among many, but required vaccinations are not anything new. We already have many mandatory vaccinations to attend school, such as polio, rubella, varicella and various others. These are not required in an attempt to control or restrict anyone’s rights, but rather to keep the student body safe and healthy. 

Some argue that the vaccine has not received enough testing or that they don’t trust the quick turnaround time medical professionals have made on it, which may reflect a lack of research on the topic. The CDC has made it increasingly clear that the vaccine has been thoroughly tested and researched to make it very safe to receive, like every other vaccine we have been given. 

It may seem easiest to the administration to avoid the possible backlash and controversy over this seemingly obvious decision and continue to utilize the daily wellness screeners or limited-class capacity instead of implementing a required vaccination. These solutions are effective as a short-term solution; however, to shift back to a normal learning environment with full-capacity classes, a fully vaccinated school would be necessary.  Continuing to conduct school under these unusual rules and circumstances makes it impossible to ever return to normalcy. 

COVID-19 vaccines are becoming increasingly simple to obtain for everyone 12 and older, as the FDA has recently approved the Pfizer vaccine for those aged 12-15. Summer would provide ample time for everyone enrolled for the 2021-22 school year to acquire a vaccine, and the school could even sponsor more vaccination days to ensure everyone has the opportunity to receive a shot. Making it as easy as possible to meet this requirement would be necessary for the school to do, and they are already making steps in the right direction with the school-sponsored vaccination days throughout May and June. 

The United States may see a struggle in reaching herd immunity due to the resistance to get vaccinated and emerging variant COVID-19 strains; however, the LT administration can do its part by requiring vaccines for those coming to school next year. It is a simple and obvious decision that would reflect LT’s values of putting public health and student needs as a top priority.