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Superintendent: City Schools of Decatur cannot require COVID-19 vaccinations for students

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Superintendent: City Schools of Decatur cannot require COVID-19 vaccinations for students

Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Mallory Gray draws up a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine during DeKalb Pediatric Center’s vaccine clinic on May 12, 2021. On May 10, 2021 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expanded the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to include adolescents age 12 through 15. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Decatur, GA — City Schools of Decatur Superintendent Maggie Fehrman announced on Friday, Sept. 17, that the district does not have the authority to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for students, she said in a newsletter.

“The authority to mandate vaccines for students is delegated to the Georgia Department of Public Health (GA DPH),” Fehrman said. “At this time, the GA DPH nor the DeKalb Board of Health have listed COVID-19 vaccinations on their list of required vaccinations for students, thus CSD cannot require vaccinations for students in our schools. While the Board and I agree that vaccinations are the best way out of this pandemic, requiring them for students is simply something we cannot do at this time.”

At the Aug. 24 School Board work session, the board discussed requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for staff and students. The board agreed to require the vaccine and provide exemptions. They planned to vote on the student requirement at an upcoming meeting.

City Schools of Decatur will continue to hold vaccination events in partnership with the DeKalb Board of Health and encourage parents to have their children vaccinated as soon as they are eligible, Fehrman said in the newsletter.

The district is requiring staff to be fully vaccinated or complete the exemption process by Oct. 31.

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