Should CHS Require COVID-19 Vaccination?

As vaccines for COVID-19 become more available, CHS ponders whether or not to require vaccinations in its students and teachers for the 2021-2022 school year.


Chip Somodevilla

DC Health nurse manager Ashley Hennigan fills a syringe with a dose of the Johnson and Johnson coronavirus vaccine during a walk-up clinic at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ outdoor Reach area on May 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

Are you a student or teacher at CHS? Does the future schedule of our school worry you due to the fact that more people are getting infected and even dying from COVID-19 every day?

Luckily both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine have started to circulate through healthcare workers and essential workers, showing promise for controlling the spread of the virus nationwide. Although it could take months for the COVID vaccine to become available to all citizens, it provides many worried Americans with hope for the slowing of the infection rate in the next coming months for the virus.

CHS requires its students and faculty to get vaccinated for illnesses like Meningitis, Hepatitis, and Measles. In order to protect all CHS families, the school should consider requiring a COVID vaccine much like these other vaccines for the fall 2021 school year.

Some students have religious beliefs and practices that go against vaccination, and in this case, CHS should ask these individuals, or the individuals that do not want to receive the vaccine to wear a mask at school until the cases in Missouri are few and the infection rate has slowed. CHS principal Dr. Dan Gutchewsky says, “While we will strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated, there are certain limitations and legal implications when attempting to mandate vaccinations that the State does not.”

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine are about 95% effective, so in terms of CHS as a whole, if every single student and teacher received one of the two vaccines, about 95% of the school population would be safe from contracting the virus. Because of this high percentage, requiring a COVID vaccine could coax more unsure families to send their kids back to school.

In almost every class at least half of the students have chosen the remote option for returning back to school, but many of these students may just feel unsafe or uncomfortable returning to school as case numbers rise. But, a vaccine may cause in-person numbers to increase drastically at CHS. Gutchewsky explains, “I am hopeful that we will eventually be able to relax some of the social distancing requirements if the COVID numbers continue to trend down and vaccinations become more readily available.”

While CHS will continue to encourage its students and faculty to receive a vaccine once it becomes available to more people, they cannot require vaccination as part of the COVID response plan.