Parents discuss Belchertown Schools COVID vaccine mandate | News
BELCHERTOWN, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — The Belchertown School Committee finalizing a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for eligible students in order to participate in extracurricular activities.
The school committee said the mandate will be for students who are eligible for an FDA fully approved vaccine. Right now, that’s 16 and up. An overwhelming majority of parents Tuesday night speaking out against this wanting to have the right to choose for their children.
“It’s not about being against the shot; it’s about being against mandating it,” one parent said.
A policy that would require eligible students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to participate in extracurricular activities is still being finalized by the Belchertown School Committee.
“Many parents are opposing this mandate have been fully vaccinated with the COVID shot and what the right to choose for their child.”
The committee already approved the mandate in a meeting two weeks ago, but in another meeting, Tuesday night, the specifics of the policy were debated, like which activities fall under the mandate and which ones are considered curriculum.
“If we have a 100 percent vaccination rate for our student-athletes will we only play schools with 100 percent vaccine rates?” one parent asked.
The policy as it stands now would only apply to students eligible for a fully FDA-approved shot; right now, that’s 16 and older.
The mandate would begin in January and cover all activities outside the credited curriculum. Band or chorus, which can count as classes, would be considered curriculum.
“What logic is there telling a child they can participate in band during the day but can’t do marching band at 2:45?” one parent said.
The committee was met with an overwhelmingly negative reaction from parents. Many questioning the logic of this mandate for select students and worried whether the shot is safe for their children.
“I ask you to take personal accountability for anything that happens to my child because there isn’t enough data,” one parent said.
The school committee says 65 percent of 12 to 19-year-olds are vaccinated. A final vote to approve this policy is scheduled in two weeks. Parents questioned whether this is also in effect for school dances and graduation. A final list of clubs and sports and activities impacted is expected to be worked out.