Sen. Peters: Mandating COVID Vaccine Is ‘Up to the School Districts’

By Julia Johnson | July 14, 2021 | 12:09pm EDT
Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.)   (Getty Images)
Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) (Getty Images)

(CNS News.com) -- When asked whether public schools and colleges should be allowed to mandate that their students receive the COVID vaccine, Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) said, “It’s a local decision.”

At the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, CNS News asked Peters, “Do you think that public schools and colleges should be able to mandate that students be vaccinated for Covid-19?”

The senator responded, “It’s up to the school districts. The school districts have -- it’s a local decision made by local school districts.” 

CNS News prompted the senator further regarding public universities and he said, “That’s going to be up to the states.”

A number of universities have announced their plans to require student vaccinations for the upcoming school year, including Virginia Tech and The University of Colorado. They do allow for exemptions based on medical condition or religion.

However, according to Virginia Tech’s Frequently Asked Questions, the religious exemption form must be notarized and Virginia’s state health commissioner reserves the right to exclude you from university activity if there are any perceived emergencies. 

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that K-12 schools highly encourage vaccinations, yet does not suggest mandates. They also note that, “Many schools serve children under the age of 12 who are not eligible for vaccination at this time,” and highlight alternate prevention strategies. 

Despite this, some health officials are pushing for states and school districts to require the COVID vaccination for school children returning in the fall.

Lori Tremmel Freeman, chief executive officer of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, said, "Anytime there's legislation that potentially prohibits the health department from trying to prevent the spread of disease, even if it's putting limits on masks or mandates on vaccination, then it's another step that local health departments would have to go through should there be an outbreak or a rise in cases," reported CNN

According to CNN, 34 states had introduced legislation seeking to limit vaccine requirements as of June 22. Six of the proposed bills include language regarding education or schools. 

Transcript

Julia Johnson: “Do you think that public schools and colleges should be able to mandate that students be vaccinated for Covid-19?”

Sen. Gary Peters: “Where are you from?”

Johnson: “I’m from CNS News.”

Peters: “If they should be mandated… It’s up to the school districts. The school districts have -- it’s a local decision made by local school districts.”

Johnson: “And what about public universities?”

Peters: “That’s going to be up to the states.”

Johnson: “All right. Thank you.”

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