FCPS to Require Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Athletic Participation

Scott Braband, Superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools announced that beginning November 8, the school system will require proof of full COVID-19 vaccination for any student participating in Virginia High School League (VHSL) winter and spring sports for the remainder of the 2021-22 school year.

Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination will also be required for participation in any other activity that requires a physical. This includes dance team and step team, as well as out-of-season practices and workouts.

"Vaccinating our students is a critical step in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and minimizing any disruption to learning. The majority of pauses to instruction for our high school students come as a result of exposure during athletic activities, which the Virginia Department of Education classifies as a high-risk activity. These pauses impact participation in activities and in-person learning while the Fairfax County Health Department (FCHD) investigates and determines close contacts and next steps."

FCPS will be working with the FCHD to ensure all students who wish to be vaccinated have access to the COVID-19 vaccine before the requirement kicks in on November 8. A total of 75.4% of all Fairfax County 16-18 year-olds are currently fully vaccinated, and 85.7% have had one dose. This timeline allows unvaccinated students ample time to fulfill the participation requirement before the winter sports season begins.

FCPS is committed to providing the safest learning environment possible for our students and is proud to lead the way by requiring COVID-19 vaccination for athletic participation. Our decision is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM), and ten other sports and medicine organizations that urge members to incorporate COVID-19 vaccination into sports physicals for student-athletes.

While we know this is a difficult decision for some families, it is an essential step that we must take to limit the duration of a pause, getting students back to the classroom and their activities sooner, but still safely. We will share more information in the coming weeks on how to provide proof of vaccination and vaccination opportunities for students.

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