Amherst school committee sets December deadline for eligible students to be vaccinated

Hampshire County

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – The Amherst Board of Health has approved a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for eligible students who attend Amherst Public Schools.

After the vaccine for students was mandated by the town, a vote by school committee members Tuesday evening set a December 1 deadline for students to be fully vaccinated.

This mandate means the COVID-19 vaccine has been added to the list of vaccines students are required to have, to attend public school in Amherst. Only vaccines that have full approval from the FDA are included in the mandate.

“My recommendation based on talking to nurses is that we include it in our December 1 exclusion date, usually our exclusion date for vaccines is November 1 but because of the pandemic, separate from COVID vaccines, we just have a high number of students that are behind on vaccines”, said Dr. Michael Morris, Superintendent of Amherst-Pelham Regional Public Schools.

So, as of now, it only impacts students aged 16 and older, since the CDC has yet to approve a COVID-19 vaccine for children 12 years and younger. Students can be exempt from this requirement for medical or religious reasons. 22News spoke with the superintendent about his recommendation for this timeline.

Some students are behind on regular vaccinations because of long wait times for appointments.

The district will also hold a public forum on COVID-19 safety and vaccines on October 6 with area doctors.

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