FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Student-athletes at Fairfax County Public Schools will soon need to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 before they are allowed to play.
That's according to a letter from Fairfax County Superintendent Dr. Scott Brabrand posted online Monday.
In a letter to the FCPS community, Brabrand also said proof of vaccination will also be required for participation in any other activity that requires a physical. This includes the dance team and step team, as well as out-of-season practices and workouts.
The new vaccine requirement will take effect on November 8, and school officials will work with the Fairfax County Health Department to ensure that any student who needs to get vaccinated can do so before the policy takes effect.
"Vaccinating our students is a critical step in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and minimizing any disruption to learning. The majority of pauses to instruction for our high school students come as a result of exposure during athletic activities, which the Virginia Department of Education classifies as a high-risk activity," Brabrand said in the letter.
According to the latest vaccine data, a total of 75.4% of all Fairfax County 16-18 year-olds are currently fully vaccinated, and 85.7% have had one dose. Brabrand said the November 8 deadline gives students ample time to get vaccinated before the winter season begins.
"While we know this is a difficult decision for some families, it is an essential step that we must take to limit the duration of a pause, getting students back to the classroom and their activities sooner, but still safely," Brabrand said.