Athletes, coaches may be required to get COVID-19 vaccine in Orange County schools

Orange County News

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Orange County Public Schools may soon require teachers, coaches and some students to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Parents received this letter on Friday, notifying them that Orange County School Board will hold a special virtual meeting Monday to vote on updating four pages of health and safety guidelines, including mandating the vaccine.

Superintendent Dr. Monique Felder wrote that the proposed guidelines are, “In light of the surge of COVID-19 (delta variant) and in an effort to ensure the health and safety of all students and staff while providing in-person learning opportunities.”

One of Felder’s recommendations is that “All students, coaches, and employees who directly support athletics, cheerleading, club sports, chorus, marching band, or theater who are eligible for a vaccine must be vaccinated in order to remain eligible to participate effective Sept. 7, 2021 (at least first dose).”

Students involved in those extracurricular activities who are under 12 will have to get tested for COVID-19.

“There are strong opinions on both sides,” said Jonathan Hail, whose son is entering the 9th grade. “I mean, that is for sure.”

The school board will also vote to mandate the vaccine for teachers once they are FDA approved. Parents like Jonathon and Dawn Hail are on board with a mandate.

“Everybody has to make their choice,” said Dawn Hail. “But when you choose to put yourself in a public setting where you’re exposing all of the children you interact with, you have to think about that, the ramifications of what you do.”

Many other Orange County parents expressed their concerns on social media.

Some believe a mandate takes away their freedom of personal choice and are planning an anti-mandate protest outside of the courthouse in Hillsborough Monday at 4:30 p.m.

CBS 17 reached out to several parents via social media who are opposed to the mandate. One declined our request for an interview and the others did not respond.

The Orange County School Board will vote in a virtual meeting Monday at 5:30 p.m. To attend you must register at this website.

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