Fairfax Co. schools employees report 97% vaccination rate as deadline passes

With the deadline for school system staff in Fairfax County, Virginia, to be vaccinated against the coronavirus passing, the school system said 97% of staff who responded to a survey report being partially or fully vaccinated.

In August, the county’s government and school system both announced a vaccination requirement. School employees had until Nov. 1 to get the vaccine.

A school system spokeswoman told WTOP that the 3% of unvaccinated survey respondents will be required to undergo weekly coronavirus testing.

The reported data comes as kids across the country are now eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Before the vaccine received emergency use authorization for children, health officials maintained the best way to protect kids was to ensure that everyone who interacted with them was fully vaccinated.

The school system said 92% of all employees and 97% of contracted employees responded to the survey about their vaccination status.

The county also has a vaccine requirement for student-athletes, and starting Nov. 8, proof of vaccination will be required for participation in Virginia High School League winter and spring sports. Previously, medical and religious exemptions would be allowed.

Student-athletes are also required to be vaccinated in Arlington and Loudoun counties, D.C. and Prince George’s, Anne Arundel and Montgomery counties in Maryland.

Teachers in D.C. also faced a Nov. 1 deadline to get vaccinated. City leaders said this week that 79% of D.C. Public Schools staff reported being fully vaccinated.

Separately, Fairfax said its coronavirus testing program for students and student-athletes will begin Nov. 15. It said information for how to register and provide consent for the testing through a secure portal will be shared soon. Coronavirus testing is optional for students but required for student-athletes who are unvaccinated.

The staff testing program started Nov. 1.

Last month, the county said the testing, which a third-party provider will offer, will include PCR tests for a random pool of unvaccinated and asymptomatic students, and rapid antigen tests for unvaccinated student-athletes and staff.

Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

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