Opinion: There is no reason Carlmont shouldn’t mandate vaccines

Pfizers+COVID-19+vaccine+has+been+FDA+approved+for+over+two+months.+Yet%2C+the+Sequoia+Union+High+School+District+%28SUHSD%29+has+made+no+steps+towards+mandating+student+vaccinations.+

U.S. Secretary of Defense/ Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY-SA 2.0

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine has been FDA approved for over two months. Yet, the Sequoia Union High School District (SUHSD) has made no steps towards mandating student vaccinations.

Imagine not having to wear masks all the time. Imagine being able to safely attend indoor school events, like prom and formal.

Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

Well, if the Sequoia Union High School District (SUHSD) mandated vaccines for their students, this could become a reality.

As of Aug. 23, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, meaning the school district can now legally mandate vaccinations from students.

Yet, over two months later, the district has made no steps in that direction. SUHSD is neglecting to take the initiative and call for the vaccination of students.

The fact that the district is refusing to take the initiative is nothing new. Historically speaking, SUHSD is a follower, not a leader. When COVID-19 initially hit, the district only decided to shut down after surrounding districts, like the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD), announced their closing. SUHSD also failed to lead when they chose to switch to pass/no pass grading in the second semester of the 2019-2020 school year, opting to do so only after other nearby districts made the same decision.

So ultimately, it is not a surprise that SUHSD is failing to take action. But despite this history, it’s not too late for the district to become a leader in the movement to mandate vaccinations for students.

There are so many reasons as to why they must mandate vaccines. The first, most basic reason is safety. The purpose of the vaccine is to prevent people from getting COVID-19. If the school wants to create an environment where students and teachers can be safe from catching the virus, they should require everybody to get vaccinated.

One might argue that mandating vaccines is unnecessary, as the school is already taking precautions by requiring masks and enforcing social distancing; however, this argument is extremely flawed. Firstly, hardly anybody social distances. It is simply impossible due to the cramped hallways and small classrooms where all the desks are put directly next to each other. In addition, students are spending time with each other during lunch and outside of school without masks or social distancing. So using either of those as the only forms of safety precautions effectively solves nothing. Thus, the only way to have a campus that is free of COVID-19 is by mandating vaccines.

Waiting for other districts to be the first to make this decision is nothing but a waste of time. SUHSD must take the initiative for once and be the first to call for this mandate; it is imperative that they do this now. If they begin the process this week, all students can be fully vaccinated before the second semester, as it takes three weeks for the first dose of the vaccine to take effect and a subsequent six weeks for the second dose to take effect.

If the district leads the pack in mandating vaccines for students, a normal school year would be within a closer reach.