Cambridge school committee approves vaccine mandate for public school students

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Cambridge is mandating vaccines for students in public schools beginning next month.

The school committee approved the new policy, which will require students 12-and-up to get a shot or be subject to some restrictions. Students who are not vaccinated by November 29 can still go to class, but they cannot participate in any extracurricular activities like sports and after-school groups.

Some people spoke out on social media that it makes no sense to allow unvaccinated students in the classroom while restricting them from sports and after-school groups.

“We want to encourage students and families to get vaccines as the best way to protect themselves and their families. We also know how important athletics, arts and extracurricular activities are to students, and that vaccinations are a way to reduce the spread of the virus among participants in those activities that could cause season or club cancellations. We understand some families may make this choice, and we will continue to do our part to educate families and students about the importance of getting the vaccine,” a Cambridge School District spokesperson told us.

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People’s opinions were across the board.

“If it is good for you, it’s good for you. That is a family thing you have to choose,” one parent said.

“As a teacher there is a huge difference in the way extracurricular actives, after school activities are coordinated, and the behavior of the kids is really different,” another Cambridge resident said.

“I think it should be all or nothing, personally, because you don’t know what the kids are getting into at home,” one parent said.

The Cambridge Education Association, which represents teachers and staffers, told us that, “vaccine mandates are critical measures to ensuring the safety of our community. We hope this new vaccine mandate will increase the vaccination rates with our scholars, particularly for the 16-to-19-year age group, which is currently less than 50%.”

The school district said it is working with other city departments to host information sessions so families and students can ask more questions about the vaccine and its safety.

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