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Some parents push back after districts require student-athletes to get COVID vaccine

Loudoun and Fairfax County Public Schools will require high school athletes to be vaccinated beginning Nov. 8.

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Fairfax County Public Schools and Loudoun County Public Schools will soon require its high school athletes to show proof of vaccination before they are allowed to play.

The new vaccine requirement will take effect on Nov. 8 for both school districts as they both work with health departments to ensure students who want to be vaccinated have the opportunity to do so.

However, one parent said she does not agree with the new requirement and said she believes the student-athletes are being singled out.

“The mandates are just outrageous,” Missy Pratt, an FCPS parent said. “It’s so much pressure on the kids. And besides that, the fact that student-athletes are being singled out is completely unfair. Not that I think the mandate should be applied to any students at all.”

Pratt is organizing a rally on Tuesday to oppose the mandate.

RELATED: Fairfax Schools to require vaccine proof for student-athletes

According to Virginia Dept. of Health data, 81.7% of Fairfax County children between the ages of 12 and 17 have at least one dose of the vaccine and 80.8% of Loudoun County children in the same age range have got theirs.

Pratt said she is working to make her son, a senior, exempt so he can continue to play his sport.

“I don’t want this to push in the direction of the student body at large having these mandates, but I do believe that it puts us on a slippery slope and I really wasn’t given an answer beyond that there have been some outbreaks in the athletic community.”

FCPS announced its plans to have student-athletes vaccinated in a letter sent to parents on Aug. 30.

“Vaccinating our students is a critical step in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and minimizing any disruption to learning,” Superintendent Scott Brabrand said in the community letter. “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.”

RELATED: Loudoun County Public Schools will require student-athletes to be vaccinated, district says

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