CPS Requires Vaccination for All Extracurricular Activities

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Allison Korn

On November 22nd, 2021, students had to be vaccinated to participate in CPSD afterschool activities.

Stephen Gwon, Around School Editor

With students coming back to full time in-person learning amidst the pandemic, measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 couldn’t be more vital. One such measure is mandatory vaccination for Cambridge Public School students. All students eligible for the vaccine were required to be fully vaccinated by November 22nd, 2021.

Interim Superintendent Victoria L. Greer stated in a newsletter that unvaccinated students are not able to participate in athletics, visual and performing arts, Student Government, and remaining clubs that meet outside of school hours. However, the same newsletter stated that unvaccinated students are still able to attend school.

Vice Principal Mr. Robert Tynes told the Register Forum that while CPS will now require students to get vaccinated to participate in afterschool activities, the purpose of this new ruling is for the safety of students. “The number one concern is keeping everyone safe and COVID free.” Regarding, the possibility of requiring vaccination for students to attend school, Mr. Tynes commented that it would be an unlikely outcome as “the district and CRLS is not interested in having to strictly enforce the punitive side of getting students vaccinated.”

The number one concern is keeping everyone safe and COVID free.”

The November 22nd mandate did exempt those unable to comply due to health or religious reasons. Mr. Tynes explained that “just as there are exceptions for adults, I am sure there will be exceptions for students with valid reasons.” However, students with these exemptions will likely “need to participate in regular testing as part of the test and stay protocols.” Nicolas Woodward ’23 told the Register Forum that he agrees “with the current choices made by the Cambridge Public Schools.” However, he believes that having stricter punishments for students without an approved vaccine exemption could be beneficial as “some people’s refusal can be a possible danger for others. I don’t know how much more [CPS] could do, but it would be better if everybody was fully vaccinated.”

In contrast, Sebastian Prasanna ’24 believes in a softer approach to encouraging student vaccination. Prasana stated to the Register Forum that “highlighting the benefits of getting the vaccine to encourage, rather than force” would be more effective from his perspective. Prasanna further explained that instead of having a general exclusion from after school activities as a consequence, the choice to exclude unvaccinated students “should be up to the individual club or sport. “If a club has masks on for most of the meetings,” he continued, “students who are not fully vaccinated could be included in some of their activities.”

While it is still uncertain how the vaccine mandate will change, Vice Principal Tynes has a hopeful outlook on the future. “I look at [the vaccine requirement] as a positive step towards getting all of us back on track towards being COVID free.”

This piece also appears in our November 2021 print edition.