Amherst School District to Require COVID-19 Vaccines for Students
AMHERST, Mass. (AP) – All eligible students in the Amherst Regional School District in Massachusetts will need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus which has full federal approval by December 1 to continue attending classes, voted the school committee.
The Amherst Regional School Committee voted 7-0 at its Tuesday meeting to mandate vaccinations, The Daily Hampshire Gazette reported.
The vote came after the Amherst Board of Health on September 9, based on a request from public schools, added COVID-19 vaccines with full federal approval to the list of vaccines students need to have. Medical and religious exemptions are allowed.
Amherst is believed to be the first district in the state to require its eligible students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. So far, the only coronavirus vaccine with full Food and Drug Administration approval is that from Pfizer, and only for people 16 years of age and older.
Council member Peter Demling said the move was aimed at ensuring the safety of students and staff.
“I hope this will move the conversation forward across the state,” he said.
The mandate applies primarily to students at Amherst Regional High School and Amherst Regional Middle School, which also serve children in the towns of Pelham, Shutesbury and Leverett.
Ruby Cain, the student representative on the committee, said the students support the mandate.
Adolescent vaccination rates in all four cities are already high, state data shows.