COVID-19 vaccine mandate kicks in Tuesday for NOLA Public School students

Published: Jan. 31, 2022 at 7:03 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A COVID-19 vaccine mandate takes effect on February 1 for public schools in New Orleans but the school district said students who show up without being fully vaccinated or without an exemption will not be kicked off the campus.

Tiffany Delcour, is Chief Operations Officer for NOLA Public Schools.

“So, schools will work with families to continue to make that choice and to get that information. There may be some restrictions that schools might put in place around extracurricular activities or things like that but we do not anticipate that students will not be welcomed to school,” said Delcour.

She said in December the school district set the February 1 deadline for vaccination but under state law, parents can request that their children be granted a waiver against any or all required vaccinations.

“In the state of Louisiana, families have a choice with any vaccine, they can claim an exemption for many reasons; we’ve been asking schools and parents to make those choices about would they get their kids vaccinated or not and to submit those exemptions,” said Delcour. “We have some families who have not yet made those choices, so our schools are following up with all families that we have not heard of regarding their status.”

Bridget Smith’s son attends Lusher Charter School. She supports the vaccine mandate.

“I think it’s great. It makes me feel a lot more comfortable. I think that I think parents have gone through a lot of ups and downs and kids have gone through a lot of ups and downs and this makes the pathway a lot easier and I know we, our class has been quarantined a couple of times in the last few weeks and it’s only a few kids that are left that have to still be virtual because of that,” said Smith.

Another mother who only identified herself as “Nikia” says her daughter turns 5-years-old this week but she is not in a hurry to get vaccinated. Vaccinations are approved for kids 5 and up. “If it’s required for school, I’ll try to get it done as soon as it’s required for her to go to school,” she said. “I don’t feel comfortable that it’s going to be probably forced when she gets in school, but like I said, I did it because my son wanted to get vaccinated, so I got vaccinated because I didn’t want him to get something that I didn’t get, so it’ll probably be the same with her. If I can hold off once she starts school, I’ll hold off as long as I can.”

A male parent who also did not want to be identified said, “I think it makes perfect sense that all kids should be vaccinated, all staff everyone.”

The school district has close to 46,000 students and eventually, all students will need to be vaccinated or have a waiver.

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