Graphic by Genevieve Frucht ’24
California just made it mandatory for all school children 12 years of age and older to get the vaccine, and according to the Office of Governor Gavin Nersom, he did this in order to further protect students and staff. Given the facts that there have already been 69 COVID cases in Westport elementary schools where students are not old enough to be vaccinated, but five at Staples High School where all students are of age to get the vaccine, it is more than necessary for Connecticut to follow suit in order to ensure the safety of all students and staff.
Cafeterias and hallways are constantly packed due to the high volume of students that attend Staples High School. Because this is the nature of most schools, especially middle and high schools, everybody needs to be vaccinated in order to make sure the spread of COVID-19 is reduced.
According to the CDC, population immunity, the high percentage of people in a community that are protected against a disease, makes it more difficult for diseases to spread. Walking through the crowded hallways is nerve wracking when I don’t know who around me is vaccinated.
USA Facts’ comparison of states’ vaccination progress shows that about 69% of Connecticut’s population has been fully vaccinated, which is actually one of the highest vaccine rates out of all the states. But, that’s definitely not everybody. I know that a lot of people go out to eat at restaurants and go shopping during the weekend. I’ll admit that I do, too. However, since this is the case, students who aren’t vaccinated could get COVID from someone who they come in contact with outside of school, and then bring it into the school.
I do recognize that some people are not able to get the vaccine due to medical or religious reasons and for that reason those people should not be mandated to get vaccinated. However, until not wearing a mask is permitted in school those students must make sure they are wearing their mask over their nose and mouth at all times unless they are eating, along with all other students.
While California has taken the step to mandate vaccines in public schools, unfortunately other states including Alabama and Florida have made steps to block vaccine requirements in schools, according to CNN Health. Even though some states have moved in the opposite direction of California, it is necessary for Connecticut to follow and mandate vaccines in schools in order to protect students and staff.