D.C. Council ‘Beginning to Recognize Irrationality’ of Kicking Kids Out of School Over Vaccine Mandate, Ted Cruz Says

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The District of Columbia Council voted to push the district’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement for students ages 12 and older to next year. The district currently mandates that eligible students must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 3 of next year, or else they will be barred from attending school.

D.C. Councilmember Christina Henderson, joined by Chairman Phil Mendelson, introduced emergency legislation to delay the mandate, which the council passed on Tuesday.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who sponsored a bill in September to combat D.C.’s “racist COVID-19 vaccine mandate in schools,” told The Daily Signal on Tuesday:

Even as the CDC continues to unscientifically push the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for students, the D.C. Council is beginning to recognize the impossibility and irrationality of throwing thousands of children out of school if they choose not to take the COVID vaccine. We’ve known for a long time now that children face much less risk from COVID-19. It’s time for the D.C. Council to give parents assurance, stop threatening their children’s education, and repeal this racist vaccine mandate once and for all.

“We need more time and understanding,” Councilmember Henderson told the Washington Post. “So that is why, when [D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson] and I discussed it, that is why we thought first doing a delay until school year 23-24 was appropriate, and then for us in the new council period to have a fuller conversation around what happens next.”

“The district is one of three jurisdictions in the country that requires COVID vaccine for public school students,” D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson said at a Monday legislative briefing. He explained that he and Councilmember Christina Henderson crafted a COVID-19 emergency policy, which would push off the deadline for students to receive the vaccine in order to attend school.

The Office of State Superintendent of Education reported in September that 45% of D.C. students are not in compliance with the district’s COVID-19 vaccination policy, as of Sept. 27. This policy defines full COVID-19 immunization as both an initial vaccine as well as any additional boosters incorporated into public health standards.

Yet, a mere 6.5% of D.C. residents have received the new COVID-19 booster.

Doug Badger, Health and Welfare Policy scholar at the Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal:

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The DC government is finally responding to reality: Turning children away from school because they haven’t received the COVID vaccine is infeasible. Most parents understand that the risk of COVID to their children is low and that the vaccines don’t prevent their kids from getting or transmitting the disease. Having closed the schools for too long, it would be unconscionable to turn away students now that they have reopened. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news outlet.)

Moreover, over a quarter of D.C. public school students are not up to par with the district’s routine pediatric immunization schedule, which applies to grades as young as pre-Kindergarten.

D.C. public schools extended the deadline for pre-K through fifth grade students to Oct. 11 at the beginning of this school year. The deadline for middle and high school students to receive their routine immunizations is scheduled for Nov. 4.

Chairman Mendelson noted there has been confusion surrounding the district’s vaccination policies, “in part because the law that we adopted last year requires the vaccine when the student is eligible” for full Food and Drug Administration approval. “Much approval has been emergency authorization, which is not what the law contemplates.”

Though D.C. Council members extended the COVID-19 vaccine deadline for students, Mendelson noted that the routine immunization requirements still apply to pre-K through 12th grade students.

Lindsey Burke, director of education policy at the Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal:

Over the course of the pandemic, D.C. fourth graders lost 12 points in math and 8 points in reading on the recently released National Assessment of Education Progress. Those dramatic declines are the equivalent of over a year’s worth of learning loss in math.

Those problems compound over time. Just 16 percent of eighth graders in DC are proficient in math and just 23 percent are proficient in reading.

The last thing these children need is to be denied entry to school because of politicized, teachers’ union-supported policies. As D.C. is under its jurisdiction, Congress should immediately allow every single child denied entry into school because of this policy to receive a voucher to attend a private school in Virginia or Maryland.

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

The post D.C. Council ‘Beginning to Recognize Irrationality’ of Kicking Kids Out of School Over Vaccine Mandate, Ted Cruz Says appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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