Thomas Gallatin / August 29, 2022

DC Undoes Vax Mandate Targeting Black Students

The scientifically illiterate mayor banned unvaccinated kids … and then walked it back.

Washington, DC, was going to force a COVID vaccine mandate policy on middle and high school students that would have disproportionately discriminated against black children. However, after national media shined a spotlight on the problematic nature of that mandate, the city announced the policy would be delayed until January 3, 2023.

The original edict from DC’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education said, “Beginning in the 2022-23 school year, the COVID-19 vaccine is required for school enrollment and attendance in the District of Columbia for all students who are of an age for which there is a COVID-19 vaccination fully approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”

Suddenly, on Friday, DC Deputy Mayor for Education Paul Kihn said enforcement was going to be too challenging. “We have heard from many of you about the challenges of tracking enforcement for COVID-19 vaccinations,” he wrote. “We hope that the Jan. 3, 2023 date for first exclusions of non-compliant students will give schools and [local education agencies] additional time to prepare and for students to get their COVID-19 vaccinations.” That was a face-saving move that simply kicks the can down the road, with the likely eventual outcome being that the vaccine requirement will be quietly dropped.

DC is one of the few school districts in the nation which mandates that students receive the COVID vaccine, though 20 states have banned the requirement. DC has a high population of black students, and recent data indicates that some 40% of school-age children have not been vaccinated. The only other area in the nation with a COVID vaccine requirement for students is California, but that policy isn’t scheduled to go into effect until July 2023, and by then things may have changed. After all, the CDC did recently discover natural immunity and change its guidelines, particularly for schools.

When DC Mayor Muriel Bowser originally addressed the issue, she stated, “They can go to school on Monday, but they need to get their vaccinations … and their families will be alerted as to the dates.” Asked if there was a remote learning plan in place for unvaccinated students, Bowser answered, “We’re not offering remote learning for children, and families will need to comply with what is necessary to come to school.” Why, with upwards of 40% of students in DC unvaxxed — mostly black, by the way — is there no option for remote virtual learning?

As noted above, COVID vaccines aren’t necessary for most students across the country, so why would it be “necessary” for DC schools? It clearly has little to do with preventing COVID, as the vaccine has repeatedly proven to be less effective than originally advertised at preventing infection. Ask Dr. Jill Biden.

Politicizing the COVID vaccine has only served to reinforce the flawed notion that good government means exerting greater control over peoples’ lives — and, more often than not, arbitrarily so. Is the primary concern in DC what’s best for children and families? By offering no options, the mayor and city leaders demonstrate a lack of real concern for people if they get in the way of serving their own interests.

Clearly, the city couldn’t overcome the obvious reality that this is yet another example of how Democrat polices hurt minorities.

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