Montgomery Co. schools encourage parents to get newest eligible group of students vaccinated

Montgomery County is expecting 40,000 doses of the pediatric COVID-19 vaccines to arrive from the state of Maryland soon.

And when that happens, Dr. James Bridgers, the county’s Acting Health Officer, said he expects two-thirds of the allocation to go to private providers, health centers and hospitals. The remaining third will to go to the county’s health department.

Although Bridgers said the numbers could be fluid, they are not absolute.

“We understand the challenges of demand and have been taking into consideration the lessons learned during our previous vaccination strategy,” Bridgers said.

On Monday during a joint Zoom meeting with interim schools Superintendent Dr. Monifa McKnight and County Executive Marc Elrich, Bridgers said the vaccine allocation plan is a “three-week, three-wave rollout that may increase in weeks two and weeks three.”

On whether the county school system would enact a mandatory vaccination policy for students, McKnight said, “Ultimately vaccines are required by the state.”

She said the schools have not gotten any indication from the state that COVID-19 is a required vaccine for all of our students.

Maryland Department of Health spokesperson Andy Owen said in an email, “While the state encourages all eligible Marylanders to get vaccinated for COVID-19 at the earliest opportunity — including the 5- to 11-year-olds who are expected to become eligible in the coming days — we do not currently have plans to mandate COVID-19 vaccines in schools.”

McKnight said the school system would be doing just that, encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated “because our interest is to be able to have them stay in-person in school, and not have to be impacted by COVID-19 unnecessarily, and we know that the vaccine is the best way to do that.”

Student-athletes are required to be vaccinated against the coronavirus in Montgomery County public schools. That’s also true for student-athletes in D.C.; Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia; and Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties in Maryland.

More Coronavirus news

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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